F.A. Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round

AFC Fylde

Wilson (11), R. Allen (50) (penalty), Lloyd (59)

Hednesford Town

Glover (23), (76) (penalty)

(1) 3

(1) 2



Current Form

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Dan Crane


Leamington (A) 6.12.14

There will be no repeat of the heroics of the 2004 Hednesford side this season in the F.A. Trophy, as Rob Smith's misfiring side fell to their second defeat of the season at Kellamergh Park to high-flying AFC Fylde

Back-to-back league defeats had stunted the Pitmen's recent good progress with Smith able to call upon Darren Campion and Richard Batchelor again after the pair had served a suspension against Tamworth last weekend. Despite the return of Campion and Batchelor, the squad was still stretched to it's limit after news this week of Jamie Ashmore's loan move to Bedworth United, with only four substitutes named by the Pitmen

Fylde had built on their good start to the season, with manager Dave Challinor once again allowed to dip into the large pot of money made available to him to bring in England C International Josh Wilson in loan from FC Halifax Town last week. The Lancashire side lay only five points off top spot in Vanarama Conference North and were looking to qualify for the first round proper of the F.A. Trophy for the first time in their history

Playing with the same, expansive style that they had done in the league fixture back in August, the hosts made a strong start to the game, with Danny Lloyd trying his luck with an acrobatic effort that cleared the crossbar in the second minute of the game

Neat approach play from Richie Allen set Wilson up for his first chance of the afternoon on nine minutes; Allen's run and cut back found Wilson, who fired horribly over the crossbar from a great position

Fylde's early pressure told in the eleventh minute, as the Hednesford defence allowed a cross from Lloyd to drop onto the head of Wilson, who headed beyond Crane as he was left unmarked inside the penalty area

This seemed to spark the Pitmen into life, as a run from Danny Glover was checked and earned the visitors a free-kick deep in Fylde territory. Tom Thorley's cross was cleared as far as Steve Diggin, who lost his footing as he shaped to shoot from the edge of the penalty area

The Pitmen earned themselves another free kick on twenty-three minutes, as a surging run from Jamey Osborne was brought to an illegal halt twenty-five yards from goal. Glover took the kick and struck a sweet curling shot over the wall and beyond the reach of Ben Hinchcliffe in the Fylde goal to equalise for the Pitmen

Crane had to be at his best to deny Fylde from successive corner kicks on the half-hour mark, punching the ball away both times to deny Wilson and Lloyd headers at goal

The Pitmen responded through Glover, whose low drive from fifteen yards out was turned away by Hinchcliffe. From the resultant throw-in, Ben Bailey's long throw was headed narrowly wide by Francino Francis

An enormous goal kick from Hinchcliffe - who famously scored past Crane from his own half in the play-off semi-final between the sides in 2012-2013 - almost caught the Pitmen out on forty-two minutes, as Lloyd took advantage of lax marking to control the long ball and fire his shot against the post. Crane did well to react to the loose ball and seize upon it before Lloyd could get to the rebound

Thorley's wayward effort from long-range looked to have been the final effort of the half, but Crane was once again in action in added time as Jamie Allen strolled through the Hednesford defence and fired straight at Crane from twelve yards out. The loose ball ran kindly to  Wilson, who scuffed his shot wide of goal

Fylde emerged in the second half with real purpose and menace, and went back into the lead just five minutes after the restart; a clumsy, ill-advised challenge from Francis saw him push Richie Allen to the floor inside the penalty area, giving the referee little option but to award the hosts a penalty. Allen himself took the kick ad fired past Crane, despite a valiant effort from the stopper to stop the shot. This was the third penalty in three games conceded by the Pitmen - a poor statistic that has seen the last two games turn in favour of the opposition

Glover was offering stubborn resistance against the Fylde threat, as he collected Thorley's pass on fifty-two minutes and turned Tom Hannigan on the edge of the area before firing wide of goal

Fylde took a firm stranglehold on the game just before the hour mark however, as more poor defending allowed Richie Allen's cross to drop inside the six-yard box, affording Lloyd the simple task of turning the ball past a horribly exposed Crane

In a bid to limit Fylde's forward moves, the defensively-minded Alex Melbourne came on in place of Thorley on sixty-three minutes to offer the defence a level of protection

The overworked Crane made another superb stop on sixty-six minutes, turning Jamie Allen's free-kick away from goal at his near post with a great stop low down

The Pitmen were however offered a route back into the game on seventy-six minutes, as Bailey was adjudged to have been brought down in the penalty area as he fought for the ball. Glover comfortably fired past Hinchcliffe to reduce the deficit

Hednesford threw everything at Fylde in the final ten minutes, bringing on Marvin Robinson for Bailey in an attempt to force the issue. As it was, it was Richie Allen who had the best chance in the closing stages, taking advantage of the Pitmen playing higher up the pitch to run through on goal and fire wide of Crane's far post

Robinson had half a chance to send the game to a replay in added time, heading a cross straight into the grateful arms of Hinchcliffe from close range without getting any real power behind his effort

Next weekend's trip to Leamington now becomes a must-win game for Smith's side as they look to enter the difficult Christmas period with a run of consistency. A threadbare squad will make this a difficult task, with Smith surely looking to add a couple of new faces over the coming weeks to reignite the Pitmen's stuttering season, now without the cushion of prize money from either cup competition

AFC Fylde: Hinchcliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, Barnes, Tomsett (Potts 32), J. Allen, Lloyd, Wilson, R. Allen (Rowe 80)      Subs Unused: Dootson, Denson, Booth

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion ©, Bailey (Robinson 87), Francis, Thorley (Melbourne 63), Osborne, Walker, Glover, Diggin, Batchelor      Subs Unused: Love, Sullivan