Hednesford Town began their Emirates FA Cup campaign, with caretaker bosses Martin Riley and Leroy Lita hoping the game against Long Eaton United would kickstart the Pitmen’s faltering start to the season. Long Eaton had already played three times in the competition, dispatching Sherwood Colliery 3-0 in a replay, before knocking out Quorn 4-1 to reach the First Round Qualifying stage. Two new additions boosted the Pitmen squad in goalkeeper Tiernan Brooks and the returning Chay Tilt.
In the opening 10 minutes Hednesford’s promising start was ended by Long Eaton’s Jack Rogers when he found the net assisted by Reco Fyfe in the 8th minute. The Pitmen’s woes continued as Micah Jebbison finished a cross from wide on the left to double the visitors advantage, again with Fyfe providing the assist. Sam Wilson saved Leroy Lita’s header from Cameron Ebbutt’s cross as the Pitmen fought to get back into the game. Lita was wrestled to the ground in the Long Eaton box however the referee Joel Buckle failed to award a penalty. Wilson made a double save from Lita and then Lewis Hayden and just as the Pitmen looked like they might be able to get a goal back before the break Rogers scored for the visitors to give the Pitmen an up-hill task in the second half.
Lita put the ball in the net early in the second half but was denied by the offside flag. The visitors were reduced to ten men when Tyreece Robinson was sent off for a foul on Riley O’Sullivan. Todd Parker had a shot saved by Wilson and Hayden had a shot deflected for a corner but the goal that the Pitmen desperately needed was not forthcoming until it was too late. Lita eventually scored a consolation goal heading home from a corner in the 89th minute.
Hednesford Town; Brooks, Hayden, Webb (Barnes 46, Rashad 81), Portman, Ison, Rowe, Ebbutt (Tilt 53), Parker, Lita, Bennett, O’Sullivan. Subs not used; Wilding, Williams.
Long Eaton United; Wilson, King (Wilson 30), Walker, McGuire, Graham, Robinson, Jebbison (Taylor 61), Gordon, Campbell (Hollis 81), Fyfe, Rogers. Subs not used; Marshall, Parker, Leivers.