A disappointing night in Hertfordshire saw the Pitmen crash out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Southern League Division One opponents. The hosts, billing the game as the biggest in their history were not fazed by the occasion as they eased edged into the second round.
Making the long mid-week trek after a month-long lay off due to lockdown, the Pitmen were dealt a blow with skipper Ben Bailey pulling out due to injury shortly before kick-off, he was replaced in defence with new signing Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis.
The Pitmen made a good start and their patient build up play was rewarded in the ninth minute when Reece Flanagan set up Antony Dwyer who opened the scoring. The early goal rallied the Citizens with Jordan Kinoshi shooting high and wide before getting on the end of Robbie Buchanan’s cross to equalise after 24 minutes. The Pitmen were very unlucky not to make the next entry on the scoresheet, with a shot from Jed Davies beating home ‘keeper Charlie Crowley, before hitting both posts without crossing the goal line.
Kinoshi grabbed his second of the game with a far post finish after 35 minutes, before Crowley made a superb save from Davies as half time approached.
The chances of a Pitmen fightback became all the more difficult when shortly after the half time break, home skipper David Keenleyside caught the Pitmen defence off guard, playing a ball over the top for Elliot Bailey to finish into the top left corner of the net.
The Pitmen stuck to their passing game despite the deficit, dominating possession for most of the second half without creating many chances. Dwyer was booked for an apparent dive in the area, while Crowley made another good save from Dan Turner before punching the subsequent corner to safety. Five minutes of added time were not enough for the Pitmen to find a way back into the game, as the home side held out to end the Pitmen’s involvement in the FA Trophy.
Welwyn Garden City; Crowley, Doherty (Tshikala), Sexton, Close, Mensah, Rolfe, Buchanan, Ironton (Cage), Bailey, Keenleyside ©, Kinoshi (Knight). Subs not used; Adina, Payne.
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Mendez-Jones (Griffiths), Lycett, Ten-Grotnehuis (Richards), Rowley, Hallahan, Davies, Flanagan, Dwyer, Dodds © (Hanna), Turner. Subs not used; Cater, Veiga.