Hednesford Town take another break from league action tomorrow when they travel to Leicestershire to face league rivals Coalville Town in the second round of the Isuzu FA Trophy. The Pitmen have avoided all the National League North clubs that have been exempt until this stage and face a league rival for the third successive game in this competition.
Hednesford have had an excellent run in the FA Trophy so far and came from 3-1 down to beat Rushall Olympic 4-3 in the third qualifying round. In the first round the Pitmen stormed into a four goal lead against Stourbridge before seeing the game out to win 4-2. Coalville have had a more comfortable route to this stage with a 4-1 home win against divisional rivals Ilkeston Town and a 3-1 away win at Northern Premier League Division One East side Dunston.
The two teams have already played the league game at the Mander Cruickshank Solicitors stadium with the Pitmen impressing in the first half leading 2-0 at half time with both goals from Leroy Lita. However, The Ravens produced an excellent second half performance putting the Pitmen under tremendous pressure throughout the half and won the game 3-2 with three goals in the last 20 minutes of the game. The two clubs last met in this competition just three seasons ago when the Pitmen won 2-1 at Keys Park.
Coalville were one of the pre-season favourites to win the Southern Premier League Central division after their run to the play-off final last season. The Ravens are currently seventh in the league table but have two games in hand on all the teams above them due to their run in the FA Cup which saw them overcome qualifying round matches against Shepshed Dynamo, Macclesfield, AFC Sudbury and Notts County on their way to a 4-1 defeat against League One side Charlton Athletic just two weeks ago. They have a settled squad and a potent strikeforce with Tim Berridge and Ashley Chambers having scored 15 league goals between them this season.
The Pitmen go into the game still without the injured Chris Clements and Riley O’Sullivan. However, there is some positive news regarding O’Sullivan with this update from the management team: “Riley is doing really well in his recovery and it was a real boost seeing him on the training pitch last night but he is still some way off so it wouldn’t be fair to put a time scale on his return just yet. All we can say is that he is currently ahead of schedule.”
It will be very interesting to see how this match plays out given the vastly different halves of football that we saw in the league game but the management team have no doubt on their approach to the game, saying: “Our approach for Coalville is no different to any other game but having played them recently we know a bit more about them so we have taken that into account in our preparation.”
The infamous 2003/04 season saw one of the greatest days in the Pitmen’s history when we beat Canvey Island 3-2 in the final of this competition but we also failed to qualify for the newly created Conference North which effectively relegated us from step two to step three and the management team are only too aware of the team’s targets for the coming months: “A cup run gives everyone a lift but we need to start winning matches and get the results our performances deserve.”
Kick off is at 3pm and the ground address is: Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium, Owen Street, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3DA