Hednesford Town exited the League Challenge Cup at the hands of Redditch United on a night to forget at The Trico Stadium.
With eight changes to the team that started the previous league game, The Pitmen got off to a shaky start. Andy Wycherley’s crossbar had already been rattled before stand in skipper Charlie Gatter put the ball past his own keeper to give The Reds a fifth minute lead.
The Pitmen searched for an equaliser, retaining the ball for long periods without creating any clear-cut chances despite numerous corners and free kicks. From another Hednesford corner just before the break, it appeared that the ball might have been bundled over the line through a mass of bodies. Reds’ keeper Kieran Boucher kept hold of the ball, as the referee consulted with his assistant before eventually awarding the home side a free kick.
The second half continued with a similar pattern of play, long periods of possession from the Pitmen, with Redditch occasionally threatening on the break. Ben O’Hanlon, on his return from a long absence through injury, put in a dangerous cross from the left finding Kieran Wells who was unable to produce a finish. Wells was also denied a half-decent shout for a penalty, while at the other end former Pitman Michael Nelson’s low drive produced a sharp save from Wycherley.
Redditch wrapped up the game in the 83rd minute when Gatter was judged to be guilty of a pull on Josh Martin, Jamie Lucas stepped up to score the penalty. Despite a late fight back from The Pitmen there would be no further goals as Redditch were able to run down the clock.
Redditch United; Boucher, Hickman (Bushaj 46), Moore, Mulders, J Martin ©, Endall, Coyle, Rankin, Lucas (Monaghan 88), Truslove (Hilton 61), Nelson. Subs not used; R Martin, Revan
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Reid, O’Hanlon (Hodge 70), Gatter ©, Morris, Scott, Fry (Hallahan 55), Daniels, Wells, Elliott, Brown (Glover 63). Subs not used; Bailey, Curley.