F.A. Trophy Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Hednesford Town

Maguire (10)

Aldershot Town

D'Sane (73) (penalty)

(1) 1

(0) 1




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Ryan Young


 Dorchester Town (H) 6.4.04

The Pitmen made history this afternoon as they complete the job over Nationwide Conference high-flyers Aldershot Town in the second leg of the F.A.Trophy semi-final to set up an F.A.Trophy Final against Ryman Premier League side Canvey Island at Villa Park next month

The previous week had seen Hednesford Town FC at it's gloriously inconsistent best, having beaten the Shots at the Recreation Ground last weekend with a fine, professional performance but following this up with an ugly, stuttering display in midweek as Dover Athletic beat them on their own patch in the Dr. Martens Premier League. Manager Barry Powell made two changes to the side that had started against the Lilywhites on Tuesday night as the experienced duo Stuart Ryder and Steve Palmer returned to the side in place of youngsters Ross Adams and Damien Charie

Aldershot arrived at Keys Park off the back of a fine win over Stevenage Borough on Tuesday night at the Recreation Ground, leaving the Shots still sitting in third place in the Nationwide Conference, albeit a number of points behind Chester City and Hereford United in the race for the Conference title. Manager Terry Brown made three changes to his starting XI from the first leg as Nikki Bull, Jon Nutter and Lee Charles came into the side in place of Richard Barnard, Tim Sills and Aaron McLean as the away side went in search of a response to last week's surprise 2-0 reverse

Rather than look to defend their lead from the first leg, the Pitmen started the game on the front foot as they looked to extend their advantage further. Top scorer Mark Danks jinked his way into the Aldershot penalty area in the fourth minute of the game as he latched onto a pass from Steve Palmer but pulled his shot across the face of Bull's goal and just wide of the far post

With just ten minutes of the game gone the tie was all but over as Darren Simkin and Carl Palmer combined to provide Anthony Maguire with an opening from twelve yards out as he hammered the ball past Bull to give the Pitmen what appeared to be an unassailable lead

Aldershot were shocked into action after being left with a mountain to climb, enjoying plenty of possession in the next ten minutes of the game but struggled to break down a well-marshalled Hednesford defence. Adam Miller had the Shots' best chance of the first quarter of the game in the sixteenth minute, hitting a firm long-range effort that Ryan Young was equally to in the Hednesford goal, turning the shot away with a fine one-handed save

Four minutes later, as deep corner kick from Chris Giles was met by the head of veteran defender Ray Warburton, only for the former Northampton man to head high over Young's crossbar under pressure from Chris Brindley

Simkin was having a fine game for the hosts, making a timely sliding tackle on twenty-six minutes to take the ball away from Roscoe D'Sane just inside the Hednesford penalty area after Giles had played the striker into the final third with a defence-splitting pass

The first of a series of bookings for both sides came on the half hour mark as Simkin was booked for a foul on Miller, irking the Aldershot man who complained bitterly to referee Mr. Tanner about the former Wolves man's aggressive approach. Skipper Steve Palmer was also booked for the hosts five minutes later for a foul on Jon Challinor as the hosts continued to tot up the yellow cards early on in the game

Nutter was forced off for the Shots due to injury on thirty-four minutes and was replaced by Tim Sills which also saw a reshuffle of the away sides's personnel and tactics

Steve Anthrobus skied a shot high over the Aldershot crossbar on thirty-seven minutes as he controlled a Carl Palmer pass well on the edge of the Aldershot penalty are before getting his laces under neath the ball and sent it sailed over the Hednesford end stand

Simon Downer was the next man to go into the referee's notebook three minutes alter as he floored Anthrobus just outside the Aldershot penalty area with crude challenge from the side

With half-time looming, Danks had another great chance to put the tie to bed as he was played clean through by Carl Palmer's pass, only to drag his low shot beyond Bull's far post in a similar way to the chance he had been presented with earlier in the first half

Half time was greeted with loud cheers from the large home crowd, with the Pitmen now within touching distance of a historic first ever final appearance   after a fine, assertive first-half performance that was once again leaving some supporters flummoxed as to how Powell's side could be so professional and clinical in the Trophy games and the complete opposite when returning to league duty

Aldershot had little to lose in the second half and responded in form with D'Sane firing in an early warning shot at Young on forty-eight minutes that the stopper turned away with a two-handed stop. From the resultant corner from Challinor, the ball dropped into the Hednesford six-yard box and was hacked off the line by Ryder, who had the foresight of mind to follow the ball back into his six-yard box to deny D'Sane and Sills a tap-in

The Pitmen were living dangerously as Aldershot continued to press and forced no fewer than five successive corner kicks in front of their own supporters. Sills went close with a downward header on fifty-four minutes that bounced around dangerously inside the six-yard box before finally being cleared by Les Hines

The home side were reduced to ten men on sixty-two minutes as Maguire was shown a straight red card by the referee for a studs-up challenge on Warburton that was deemed as dangerous by Mr. Tanner to leave the Pitmen with a nervous final half-hour of football to play

The Shots continued to press hard for a way back into the game, but found Young in inspired form between the posts for the hosts; on sixty-six minutes, Young made a flying stop to his right to tip Will Antwi's shot away from goal before following this up with a smothering save at the feet of D'Sane two minutes later after racing to the edge of his penalty area to claim a through ball from Miller

Aldershot's pressure finally paid on seventy-three minutes as they were awarded a penalty kick after Young had brought down D'Sane following a pass from Sills. Young was show a yellow card for the mould before D'Sane fired confidently past him from the resultant kick to level the game on the afternoon and give his side a glimmer of hope of a comeback in the tie

The referee had not exactly covered himself in any glory during a patchy, inconsistent afternoon that had seen him hand out bizarre yellow cards for both sides and award decisions for the most minor indiscretions. Anthrobus was booked on seventy-six minutes for a simple coming together with Downer, whilst Challinor was also shown a yellow card for the Shots for seemingly winning the ball well off Simkin in midfield

Miller was denied by Young a minute later as he played a quick one-two with Giles before striking a clean effort at goal from twenty yards out that the Hednesford keeper did well to turn away

Two minutes later, Young was called upon again to turn a Sills shot over the crossbar as the midfield man gave Steve Palmer the slip and unleashed a shot from range

With time starting to slip away for the Conference side, they committed more men forwards but once again found the Pitmen's highly experienced back line standing firm to everything they threw at them. D'Sane dragged a low shot along the floor on eighty-three minutes that Young turned around the post, although in all likelihood the ball was heading wide of goal

The Shots' frustration descended into ill-discipline in the final minutes of the game, as they were reduced to ten men on eighty-seven minutes with Miller shown a straight red card following a clash with Jordan King in midfield that saw Miller raise his hands to the face of the Hereford United loanee

The away side continued to press with a series of corner kicks despite being reduced in numbers, with a third corner in a row leading to them being reduced to nine men in the final minute of the game; Bull had come forward to add to the numbers for a Sills corner and narrowly missed the ball in as he clashed with Simkin. Bull took great exception to Simkin's challenge on him and gave the referee a mouthful which prompted Mr Tanner to show the keeper a red card for dissent. Sills was forced to don the keeper's jersey for the final minutes, summing up the disarray in the Shots ranks 

It was a frenetic end to a historic occasion for the Pitmen, who celebrated a fantastic achievement of reaching the F.A. Trophy Final for the first time in the club's history. It will be an all step two final in May at the home of Aston Villa as the Pitmen will face the big-spending Ryman Premier League leaders Canvey Island, who had been the Pitmen's local rivals Telford United on penalties in the other semi-final. Tuesday night sees the Pitmen return to league action once more looking to take this massive achievement into their terrible league form as they face Dorchester Town at Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Young , Simkin , Hines, King, Brindley, RyderC. Palmer, S. Palmer © , Anthrobus , Danks, Maguire (62)      Subs Unused: Dean, Dodd, S. Evans, Piearce, P. Evans


Aldershot Town: Bull ▆ (89), Gosling, Nutter (Sills 34), Downer  , Warburton ©, Challinor , Miller ▆ (87), Giles, Antwi (McLean 77), D'Sane, Charles ▆ (Sterling 74)      Subs Unused: Chewins, Barnard