Saturday 9th September sees Hednesford Town take a break from the rigours of Northern Premier League football when they entertain local rivals Walsall Wood in the Isuzu FA Trophy First Qualifying Round.
Although the distance from Oak Park to Keys Park is just seven miles and both teams play at step 4 in the Northern Premier League, they play in different Divisions, The Wood in the Midland and The Pitmen in the West. It’s Walsall Wood’s first season at this level after winning the Midland League Premier Division last season and it’s also their first season in the FA Trophy after previously playing in the FA Vase, reaching the semi-final in 2020-21, losing to eventual winners Warrington Rylands.
The Wood sit in 14th place in their division with six points from six games. The six points came from a 4-1 win over Sutton Coldfield and a 2-1 victory against Gresley Rovers with their other four games ending in defeat (1-3 v Spalding, 1-2 v Harborough Town, 0-1 v Lye Town and 2-3 v Quorn). Their FA Cup hopes came to an end at the hands of Rugby Borough in the Preliminary Qualifying Round after a replay win against Highgate in the previous round.
Familiar faces in the Wood squad will be Joe Fitzpatrick, Adam McGurk, Joey Butlin and Carter Lycett while Hednesford will have new signings Joe Morley and Jez Abbey available.
Admission is the usual £11 adults, £8 concessions, £3 under 16s with £3 parking and £2.50 for the award-winning programme. Kick off is 3pm with gates and the Chase Suite open at 1pm. If the game is a draw after 90 minutes, then a penalty shoot out will decide the winner, who will play Newcastle Town or Belper away in the Second Qualifying Round.