Hednesford Town were at home for the first time in a month as they faced league rivals Coalville Town in the Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd Round Qualifying. With only one place between the Pitmen and the Ravens in the league, in third and fourth place respectively, it promised to be a hard fought encounter on a cold and damp afternoon at Keys Park.
The visitors had the best of the opening exchanges with Andy Wycherley making a sharp save from Kalern Thomas. Luke Shaw should have opened the scoring for Coalville when he dragged his shot well wide with only the goalkeeper to beat, following a dangerous break down the left.
The Pitmen had the next opportunity to break the deadlock when Tom Elliott set up a great chance for Danny Glover, but his effort went straight to Saul Deeney in the visitors’ goal. Ben Bailey went close at the far post from a corner before Andre Brown forced a smart save from Deeney as the hosts looked to capitalise on a sustained spell of pressure.
On 44 minutes, the referee played an advantage down the right channel with Glover crossing for Jack Hallahan to head home at the far post to give the hosts a half-time lead.
Hednesford continued to dominate in the second half, Andre Brown forced a save from Deeney with a fierce shot from 25 yards out. Ben O’Hanlon provided a deep cross from the left for Brown who had an effort blocked at the far post. This should have acted a warning to the visitors as an almost identical cross was headed into the net by skipper Ben Bailey to double Hednesford’s lead.
The Pitmen continued to control the game, retaining possession of the ball for long periods of play and limiting the Ravens’ chances. With the defence, led by the impressive Bailey, looking far more solid than of late and with Hallahan, James Hurst and Reece King working tirelessly to win the midfield battle. A late flurry from Coalville did see Tim Berridge pull a goal back with a low drive into the centre of the goal in the 86th minute. Despite the late goal, The Pitmen were able to hold on comfortably for the remainder of the game, including five minutes of added time. Hednesford Town will go into the draw for the next round on Monday alongside the clubs from the Vanarama National Leagues.
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Hurst, O’Hanlon (Curley 66) , Bailey, Morris, Griffiths, Hallahan (Scott 90), King, Glover, Elliott, Brown (Reid 77) . Subs Gatter, Chambers, Hodge, Fry
Coalville Town; Deeney, Pierpoint, Storey, Towers, Thomas, Doyle-Charles, Dean (Berridge 60) Shaw, Taylor, Mitchell, McGlinchey (Browne 76). Subs McGurk, Davidson, Bowles.