Hednesford Town’s Buildbase FA Trophy journey continued at the PRG Stadium with the visit of National League North Chester FC in the First Round. Having already knocked Stratford, Sutton Coldfield and Coalville out of the competition, the Pitmen were looking to get the better of a side flying high in the league above.
The first half did not live up to its billing descending into a rather drab affair without either side creating too many clear cut chances. The visitors maintained the bulk of possession, keeping the Pitmen pinned back in their own half with ten men behind the ball, the home side were content to make the occasional break towards lone striker Danny Glover or down the wings with Osebi Abadaki.
The Pitmen were perhaps riding their luck at times with Andy Wycherley coming out of his area on a couple of occasions to break up Chester attacks. On one occasion the home goalkeeper was indebted to a timely block from right back Matt Curley after finding himself stranded. The first clear cut opportunity would fall to the Pitmen when Ben O’Hanlon intercepted a clearance, setting up Danny Glover who dragged his shot just wide from the edge of the Chester box. Moments later the visitors would have their best chance of the half when Bradley Jackson played in a useful cross from the right for Matty Hughes who planted his header wide.
The second half had a lively start from both sides as Akwasi Asante drifted along the edge of the Pitmen box before sending his shot just wide of the right post. The home side almost replied instantly when Glover broke into the Chester area and appeared to be pulled down by a defender, however the referee was not forthcoming with a penalty.
In a similar pattern to the first half Chester continued to press, maintaining possession in the home half, with the Pitmen keeping men behind the ball. Most of the attempts at goal came from distance and did not cause too many problems for Wycherley who made a good save from Gary Roberts diving header. A trademark long throw from Ben Bailey caused problems in the area for the Chester defence, when Tom Fry worked the ball to Kieran Morris who, overstretched, scooped his shot over the bar.
The visitors thought they had made the break through when Asante arrived at the far post to tap in a cross from the right, however the celebrations behind the goal were cut short by the linesman’s flag. Joel Taylor went close with a freekick in the dying moments of the game before Elliot Hodge scuffed a shot for the Pitmen to leave the game goalless after three minutes of added time taking the tie to a replay at Chester.
After the game Danny Glover said; “It was a hard game against a good side, we had a lot of defending to do, but stood strong when we needed to. We created a few chances but the draw was probably the fairest result, we will take the confidence from our performance into the replay.”
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey (C), Morris, Gatter (Hurst 63), O’Hanlon (Reid 63), King, Glover, Fry, Abadaki (Hodge 85). Subs not used; Chambers, Veiga, Waddison, Lycett.
Chester FC; Griffiths, K Roberts, Taylor, G Roberts (C), Livesey, Grand, Jackson, Glendon, Asante (Waring 85), Hughes (Dudley 76), Elliott (Ngwatala 81). Subs not used;Morgan, Waring, Waters, Jones, Stopforth.