10.10.2015

F.A. Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Obeng (13), Disney (75)

Alfreton Town

Robertson (19), (27) (penalty), (62), Bradley (21)

(1) 2

(3) 4

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Ahmed Obeng

D L W W L D D W W L

Chorley (A) 17.10.15

It's another year of disappointment in the F.A. Cup for Hednesford Town, as the Pitmen are dumped out of the competition at the third qualifying round stage by league rivals Alfreton Town this afternoon in a high-scoring encounter

After back-to-back wins at Keys Park, the Pitmen went out looking to make it three successive wins at home against a side that had soundly beaten them 4-0 at the Impact Arena last month. Manager Bernard McNally was forced into making one change to the side that had defeated Lowestoft Town last week, bringing in Tom James in place of the injured Tyrone Williams. Adam Thomas gave the Pitmen a boost ahead of kick-off by being passed fit since suffering a damaged collarbone on the opening day of the season

Alfreton arrived at Keys Park for the first time in eight years with several concerns in their squad, with Nicky Law only able to name three substitutes after the loss of Joe Leesley and John Johnston (suspended) and Sam Berry (illness). Jordan Robertson had hit the ground running with his new club since making his debut against the Pitmen, scoring five times in his six games since moving to the Impact Arena from Farnborough

Boosted by their recent run of good home form, the Pitmen started well and looked a more balanced outfit than the one that had been well beaten by Alfreton a few weeks earlier. After forcing a succession of corner kicks, Matt Regan headed straight at Matt Duke in the Alfreton goal after meeting a Sean Williams cross at the far post

The hosts made the pressure tell in the thirteenth minute, as Obeng cut inside from the left and unleashed a superb effort that bounced under the body of Duke and into the net from eighteen yards out

James tried his luck from a very similar position on the pitch three minutes later, scuffing a shot straight into the grateful arms of Duke

However, the Pitmen failed to build on their positive start to the game, and somehow found themselves cast adrift in the game courtesy of a chaotic and disastrous nine-minute period. On nineteen minutes, the Hednesford defence failed to clear effectively and allowed Ryan Wilson to cross for Dan Bradley, whose flick header was swept into the net by Jordan Robertson from close range

Two minutes later, Alfreton were gifted the lead for the first time in the afternoon by Dave Parton, who made another glaring error to match the one he made against Lowestoft last weekend; Niall Heaton's long ball over the top of the Hednesford defence was misjudged by the onrushing Parton, who allowed the ball to bounce over his head and allow Bradley to turn the ball into the empty net

The Pitmen's afternoon was quickly turning into a nightmare, with Parton making another fatal error on twenty-seven minutes to present Alfreton with another glorious chance to put one foot in the next round. Bradley got in behind the static Hednesford defence to get on the end of Robertson's through ball and took it around Parton, who brought the midfielder down as he shaped to shoot. The referee was left with little option but to show Parton a straight red card and award Alfreton a penalty. Lloyd Ransome made his first appearance for Hednesford since his return to the club, coming on for the unlucky Nathan Modest to replace Parton. His first act was to pick the ball out of the net, as Robertson slammed home the spot-kick to put the visitors 3-1 up

Clearly rattled by the quick turnaround in fortunes, the Pitmen looked to regroup as they tried to get themselves back into contention. Regan again threatened at the far post from another Sean Williams corner but lifted his header over the crossbar as he stretched to reach the ball

Sean Williams saw his effort from the edge of the penalty area blocked by Tom Allan on forty minutes, before Todd was lucky to stay on the pitch after a poor late challenge in midfield saw the veteran booked

Obeng started the second half with purpose, making another one of his threatening runs forward before testing Duke's reflexes with a powerful shot

 A corner kick from Sean Williams on fifty minutes was partially cleared by the Alfreton defence, with Tom Thorley firing wide with a weakly-hit shot from twenty yards out

The Pitmen felt that they should have been awarded a penalty of their own on fifty-four minutes as Obeng's run was ended by what appeared to be a blatant trip on the striker by Cliff Moyo. However, the match officials waved away the vociferous protests from the men in black and white and continued with the game

A further penalty appeal was ignored by the referee four minutes later, as John Disney's progress was halted by an apparent foul by Stefan Galinski just inches inside the penalty area

Thorley was looking to add to his burgeoning goal tally for the season to become the club's top scorer this term as he got on the end of a James free kick on the hour mark but headed wide of goal with a difficult effort at the far post

The home side were to rue not taking one of these chances to get back into the game, as Alfreton hit the Pitmen on the break to score a killer fourth goal on sixty-two minutes. Substitute Jamie Jackson got in behind the defence down the Alfreton left before crossing for Robertson to complete his hat-trick from close range

Thomas was allowed a piece of match action for the first time in two months on seventy-one minutes, coming on in place of the tiring Todd down the left-wing

The winger was to have an immediate impact on the game with his second touch of the game, drifting inside from the wing before finally being halted by an illegal challenge from Galinski inside the box. Disney took the chance to reduce arrears from the resultant penalty but saw his initial shot saved by Duke. Fortunately, the rebound fell kindly for Disney, who turned the ball past the former Bradford keeper at the second attempt

To be fair to the ten men of Hednesford, they continued to press as they looked for an unlikely route back into the game. A long throw from Ben Bailey just evaded Thomas at the far post, before both Williams and Thorley both missed the target by a matter of inches with a long-range effort

Ransome made a superb stop in added time to deny Alfreton a fifth goal, turning Robertson's goalbound shot away from goal with his feet

So, Alfreton move into the final qualifying round of the F.A. Cup and go into Monday's hat at the Pitmen's expense. Despite recent improvements, today's defensive horror show puts the Pitmen back a notch, with Parton's suspension thrusting the inexperienced Ransome into the number one jersey for next week's tricky looking trip to Lancashire to face Chorley

Hednesford Town: Parton ▆ (27), Disney, Regan, Bailey ©, Todd (Thomas 71), Trainer, S. Williams, Thorley, Modest (Ransome 27), Obeng, James      Subs Unused: Perry, Digie, Ennis, McQuilkin, Patterson

Alfreton Town: Duke, Moyo (Jackson 46), Galinski, Allan, Heaton, Jordan, Wilson, Thanoj, Bradley, Jones, Robertson (Ironside 79)      Sub Unused: Draper

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