The Pitmen faced National League North strugglers Blyth Spartans at the PRG Stadium, Keys Park in the Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round. In form Hednesford Town were through to the third round on the back of wins against Lutterworth and Barwell. The Spartans had progressed to this stage beating Curzon Ashton in a replay at Croft Park following a 4-4 draw.
The hosts got off to a flying start with Enoch Andoh and Osebi Abadaki tearing down both wings. When an Abadaki run was abruptly ended 20 yards out, Tom Elliott stepped up to deliver a freekick to the far post for Reece King to give the Pitmen an early sixth minute lead. Moments later Spartans should have equalised when Michael Sweet blasted a shot over the bar. The Pitmen had the ball in the net again when Kieran Morris headed in from a corner, only to be denied by an offside flag. Callum Roberts fired a Spartans freekick over the crossbar, meanwhile at the other end of the pitch Ben Bailey headed wide from a corner .
In the 30th minute the Pitmen broke down field with Elliott playing a precise pass putting Andoh through on goal. A last ditch challenge ended the speedy winger’s run, but much to the surprise of the home support a penalty was not given.
Against the run of play Callum Roberts found himself in space on the left in the home area striking past Daniel Platt to equalise for the visitors. The frenetic closing to the half continued, as the Pitmen broke downfield with Elliott shooting from a tight angle, winning a corner for the Pitmen. Kieran Morris headed home to restore the Pitmen’s lead. Before the break another foul on Abadaki gave Hurst the chance to tee up Glover whose shot went just wide of the post.
Spartans, backed by a noisy away following, came out for the second half looking to get straight back into the game. During a period of pressure from the visitors a slip in the home area by Hurst allowed Robert Dale to square the loose ball for Roberts to equalise for the second time.
Another set piece restored Hednesford’s lead; from wide on the left Sam Griffiths played an excellent ball through to Elliott whose shot was pushed behind by Mark Foden. The corner was cleared as far as Bailey who headed the ball back towards goal, with Kieran Morris rising highest to nod into the net for his second goal of the afternoon. Two minutes later, a long ball over the top put Danny Glover through on goal, rounding the Blyth keeper to put the result beyond doubt. Despite a triple substitution the visitors could not find a way back into the game on a classic FA Cup afternoon at Keys Park.
The draw for the Fourth Qualifying Round will be conducted by John Motson and Danny Murphy and will take place at 1.30pm on Monday 7th October. Ties will take place over the weekend of 19th October with £18,750 prize money for winning clubs.
Hednesford Town; Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey (c) , Morris, Hurst, Abadaki, King, Glover (K Wells 82), Elliott, Andoh (B Wells 57) Subs not used; Gatter, Daniels, Fry, Hallahan, Reid
Blyth Spartans; Foden, Robson, Callaghan, Mullen, Ritson, Devitt (Hunter 66) Wright son, Scott (Evans 66) , Sweet, Roberts, Dale (c) (Amantchi 66)
Subs not used; Mouanda, Harker.