Hednesford Town take a break from league action tomorrow afternoon when we welcome local and divisional rivals Stourbridge to the RACE stadium in the first round proper of the Isuzu FA Trophy.
The Pitmen and Stourbridge have already played each other this season at the RACE stadium in a goalless draw in August. Stourbridge have improved since the start of the season and are currently 11th in the league, but they are third in the form table over the last six games with 13 points gained to the Pitmen’s six. Their last game was on Tuesday night where they won 2-0 at Ilkeston Town, and former Pitmen players included in the Stourbridge matchday squad that night were defender Tyler Lyttle, midfielder and captain Reece King and striker Reece Styche.
Stourbridge had an excellent run to the fifth round of the FA Trophy last season. The run began with a 1-0 victory at Redditch United in the third qualifying round. In the first round proper they won 2-1 away at Northern Premier League Division One East club Carlton Town, and in the second round they beat National League south outfit Hemel Hempstead Town 6-5 in a penalty shoot out after a 1-1 draw, again away from home. In the following two rounds Stourbridge beat National League North opposition, in the third round beating AFC Telford United 3-2, and in the fourth round they won again on penalties (2-0) after a 0-0 draw against Guiseley. However their run was ended in the last 16 with a 0-1 defeat at home to National League promotion chasers Solihull Moors in front of over 1,700 supporters.
Hednesford’s recent record in the FA Trophy has been less than impressive with defeats over the last five seasons against lower league opposition in Welwyn Garden City, Cleethorpes Town and AFC Mansfield. However, we did do relatively well in 2019/20 when we beat Stratford Town, Sutton Coldfield Town and Coalville Town on the way to a defeat after a replay to National League North side Chester. It has now been 19 years since one of the greatest days in the club’s long history when we won the FA Trophy at Villa Park against Canvey Island.
Both of these teams had to negotiate away ties against league rivals in the previous round when Stourbridge won 1-0 at Needham Market and the Pitmen won a thriller 4-3 at local rivals Rushall Olympic. The Pitmen have added to their squad over the last 24 hours with the signing of Stoke City under-21 defender Luke Redfern.
As there is no extra time or replays at this stage of the FA Trophy this season the tie has to be decided on the day and therefore there will be a penalty shootout if the match ends in a draw after 90 minutes.