2.10.2007

F.A. Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Replay

Alfreton Town

Rickards (23) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

Adam (37), Pedro (89)

(1) 1

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

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246

Chris Adam

L L L L D W L W D W

Ossett Town (H) 6.10.07

The Pitmen pulled off a minor shock this evening to knock Blue Square North outfit Alfreton Town out of this season's F.A. Cup at the second time of asking and set up a local derby with Rushall Olympic in the third qualifying round

 

Winger Dominic Heath was ruled out of the tie with injury and was replaced by Mario Pedro in the only change to Phil Starbuck's starting line-up from Saturday. Otherwise it was as you were for the first eleven, although Danny Blair's illness saw him left out of the named substitutes

Alfreton manager Nicky Law had lambasted his players for not taking the game to Hednesford at the weekend but chose to remain faithful to the XI that had started at Keys Park

On a chilly night in Derbyshire, the Pitmen started with a zip to their play and Pedro tested Alfreton goalkeeper James Lindley in the fourth minute with a long-range effort that Lindley saw late before tipping around the post for a corner kick

Chris Adam picked up where he left off on Saturday, teasing the Alfreton defence with his trickery and skill on the ball. A marauding run down the left from the former Ilkeston man on nine minutes saw him drift past two challenges before overrunning the ball slightly as he shaped to shoot and allowed Anton Brown to make the tackle

 

Five minutes later, Adam was at it again with another run deep into Alfreton territory and subsequent ball to Pedro, whose lay-off found midfielder Tom Ward. His firmly-struck effort forced Lindley into a smart save down to his left hand side to concede another Hednesford corner

Alfreton came back into the game after an indifferent first fifteen minutes as went close to opening the scoring on nineteen minutes; Brian Cusworth, who had a number of chances at the weekend, got on the end of an Anton Brown cross but headed wide of goal from close-range when he really should have forced Rene Gilmartin into a save

Four minutes later, the home side were awarded a controversial penalty when skipper Tom Marshall was adjudged to have held back Cusworth as they scuffled for the ball. The Pitmen argued long and hard to the referee that both players were holding each other, but the spot-kick was awarded to the hosts. Up stepped Scott Rickards, who fired past Rene Gilmartin to give the hosts a controversial lead

An error by Paul Robinson almost gifted Afreton a quickfire second goal on twenty-six minutes as he attempted to play the ball out of defence but got caught in possession by Cusworth, who played a quick one-two with Rickards before firing straight into the midriff of Gilmartin

Adam appeared to be the Pitmen's best bet to get themselves back into the game as he was seeing plenty of the ball in the opening half-hour. He beat Laurie Wilson all ends up with his wing play on thirty-three minutes and crossed for Alan Nagington, only for Tom Hannigan to make a timely challenge on the striker

Two minutes later, Robinson's header towards goal from an Adam free-kick was nearly turned home by Pedro, only for a combination on Lindley and Laurie Wilson to smuggle the ball away from danger and clear their lines

Te Pitmen dragged themselves back into the game eight minutes before the break with the excellent Adam grabbing his second goal of the season for the visitors; a direct run into the area was not checked by the retreating Alfreton defence, allowing the winger to fire past Lindley to level the game with a well-placed shot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper from twelve yards out

Hednesford finished the half strongly, with Pedro dancing past two tackles on the edge of the Alfreton penalty area and exchanging passes with Ward before firing straight at Lindley

It had been another spirited display from the Pitmen thus far, who again had not looked out of place against their higher league opponents and were still very much in the game after Adam's equaliser

Lindley had to be alert in added time to deny Nagington with his legs after the striker had nipped in behind the static home defence to turn the ball goalwards

Law must have given the home players a real going over at the break as they emerged in search of a quick goal at the start of the second period. Two minutes after the restart, Cusworth forced Gilmartin into a save low down to his right

With their next attack, Alfreton's Chris Walton was denied a clear shot at goal by the backtracking Robinson after a neat spell of play in midfield had opened up the visitors' defence

The Pitmen successfully weathered the early storm from Alfreton and started to create openings for themselves as the half developed. Pedro dragged a low shot well wide of goal on fifty-four minutes, followed by a wayward shot from Nagington with a twenty-five-yard strike two minutes later

Ward was also guilty of wasting an opening for the Pitmen on fifty-nine minutes as Gilmartin's long ball forwards was flicked on by Pedro into the midfielder's path, only for Lindley to make the save

On the hour mark, Dave MacPherson forced Lindley into a good save after arriving late into the Alfreton penalty area to reach a deep Adam cross and turn an angled shot at goal

A bout of handbags involving fourteen players broke out on sixty-three minutes after a crude challenge from Cusworth on MacPherson saw players from both teams square up to each other. Cusworth was booked for the foul and Ashley Woolliscroft was also cautioned for his part in the ruckus

Ward was having a fine game for the Pitmen and set Adam on his way on sixty-eight minutes with a slide-rule pass inside two Alfreton defender. However, with the ball on his wrong foot, Adam drilled a right-footed effort well wide of goal

Alfreton were still a threat on the break, however, despite the Pitmen having the better of the chances. Walsall loanee Gilmartin made an outstanding save on seventy-two minutes as he somehow managed to claw Anton Brown's header from point-blank range away at the far post, with Gordon Simms clearing the danger. A superb save and one that was to have a major say on the game's outcome

Gilmartin made another stop from Cusworth on seventy-five minutes before he nearly blotted his copybook three minutes later as his attempted clearances deflected off the back of Alfreton substitute Matt Glass and looped over the stopper's head, only for the ball to drop narrowly wide of the post

With the game entering the final ten minutes, it looked as though the game was heading for extra time as Starbuck warmed up his three substitutes in preparation to put on some fresh legs in the final half-hour

Ward's fine cross-field pass found Pedro in space on eighty-five minutes as the Pitmen continued to press, with the winger cutting inside and seeing his shot deflected away by Brown for a corner kick

With a minute of the game left, the Pitmen made one last foray into Alfreton territory and grabbed a late, late win; Pedro won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, allowing Marshall to spot the ball down. The defender hit the ball low and hard across the face of the area, hitting Pedro as it headed across goal and getting enough purchase on it to turn the ball past Lindley and into the net from close-range. Hot a pretty goal by any means, but certainly effective

There was still time for Glass to be red-carded for stamping on Ross Adams out of sheer frustration in added time, much to the disgust of the Hednesford officials which sparked another bout of pushing and shoving by both sets of players

 The Pitmen held on to record a fine victory over their higher-level opponents, one that they had richly deserved over the two games after going toe-to-toe with their step two opponents. This sets up a mouthwatering local derby in the next round as Hednesfird make the hop across to near neighbours Rushall Olympic, who have a number of ex-Hednesford players in their ranks who will be looking to exact revenge on their step three opponents. Before that, there is a return to league action on Saturday as Ossett Town visit Keys Park, having already won four of their five away games so far this term

Alfreton Town: Lindley, L. Wilson, A. Brown, M. Wilson (Ellis 81), Hannigan, Doxey, Cockerill, Walton, Cusworth , Rickards (Glass 67  (90)) Bowler       Subs Unused: Dodds, McDonald, Sutcliffe

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Marshall ©, Adams, Robinson, Simms, Pedro, MacPherson, Ward, Adam, Woolliscroft , Nagington        Subs Unused: Sanders, D. Brown, Hall