The Road to Wembley begins tomorrow for Hednesford Town as we welcome Long Eaton United to the RACE stadium for an FA Cup first qualifying round tie for the second time in three years.
It was September 2020 when the two clubs last met in this famous competition when the Pitmen won 3-2. Midland League side Long Eaton equalised twice but Hednesford striker Danny Glover scored his second goal of the game deep into injury time to fire the Pitmen into the next round. Long Eaton had won seven of their eight Midland League games that season when the league was suspended and eventually abandoned due to the Covid pandemic. Last season the club were affected by the reorganisation of the pyramid as they were laterally moved to the United Counties League Premier Division North. Their stay in that league lasted just one season as they lost only one game out of 34 and scored 106 goals to win the league and promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One East.
Long Eaton’s season started with an extra preliminary round FA Cup tie on 6th August where a late goal from Rod Orlando-Young secured a 2-2 draw and an FA Cup replay against Sherwood Colliery, which they won 3-0. Two more goals from Orlando-Young earned the club this tie against Hednesford with a 4-1 home win over Quorn in the preliminary round. In the league they have won one game, drawn two and lost one to leave them in 12th place. Their league campaign started with 1-1 draws away at Bridlington Town and at home against Grantham Town and over the Bank Holiday weekend Long Eaton beat North Shields 3-1 at home and then lost 2-0 against Carlton Town.
Hednesford Town have added goalkeeper Tiernan Brooks to the squad, joining on loan from Notts County until January 2023. In addition winger Chay Tilt has rejoined the Pitmen just a few weeks after leaving the club.
If this game is anything as good as the last one between these two teams then we should be in for a cracking FA Cup tie. If the match ends as a draw there will be a midweek replay at Long Eaton’s Station Road ground on a date to be confirmed.