F.A. Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Todd (71), Thorley (82)

Bedworth United

(0) 2

(0) 0



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Andy Todd


Lowestoft Town (H) 3.10.15

The Pitmen move into Monday's draw for the third qualifying round of this season's F.A. Cup - but were made to work hard for the privilege by Evo-Stik Southern Premier League strugglers Bedworth this afternoon at a sun-drenched Keys Park

Bernard McNally's Keys Park tenure had so far yielded modest scorelines, with two draws and a defeat so far for the former Northern Ireland International. He made just the one change to the side that had earned a point at Brackley Town last weekend, with Paul Ennis coming in in place of Kennedy Digie after an impressive final half-hour against Brackley. With seven substitutes required, former striker and first-team coach Kyle Patterson was registered ahead of the game to add to the numbers

Bedworth arrived at Keys Park looking to enjoy some respite from their rotten league form in the Evo-Stik Premier League, with the Greenbacks rooted to the foot of the table on five points. Manager Stuart Storer named former Hednesford midfielder Marlon Walters amongst his starting line-up, alongside exciting former Solihull Moors and Leamington striker Aron Wint

The game took a good while to warm to, with both sides enjoying possession in the first ten minutes without seriously threatening. Sean Williams - named in the England C Squad in midweek - was his usual neat and tidy self in midfield, but struggled to create openings for Ennis or Kyle Perry up front

A Bedworth free-kick caused a momentary flutter for the Pitmen on eleven minutes as the old defensive woes threatened to kick in, but skipper Ben Bailey was in authoritative mood and hacked the ball away from goal

The first real effort of note came on twelve minutes, as Bedworth left-back Luke Rowe tried his luck with a speculative free-kick from the right that dipped just over Dave Parton's crossbar

Three minutes later, the Pitmen had a chance of their own, with Andy Todd getting in behind the Bedworth defence down the left. His low shot was smothered by Denham Hines in the Bedworth goal, with Matt Regan and Sean Williams both failing to hit the target with follow-up efforts

Neat link-up play down the Hednesford right saw John Disney played in by Tom Thorley on twenty minutes, with Disney's deep cross headed wide by Perry

There was real concern for the Pitmen four minutes later, as Bedworth almost took the lead through Alex Naughton; Parton's punch from an Andy Westwood cross was weak, allowing Naughton to nod the ball goalwards. Ben Bailey was on hand to hack the bouncing ball off the line and deny the Greenbacks a shock lead

An uninspiring, dull first half continued to be a torrid affair to watch for both sets of supporters, with the flurry of chances seen midway through the half drying up as the game headed towards half time. Regan fired high and wide for the Pitmen on thirty-seven minutes after a Thorley lay-off, whilst Hinds made an easy stop to deny Sean Williams a minute later after clever approach play from Ennis

The Pitmen started the second half with more purpose and went close to taking the lead on forty-nine minutes - a run and cross from the ever-willing Todd found Thorley, whose first time shot flew well wide of the right-hand post

With the game in danger of entering into the murky waters of a potential replay, the Pitmen decided to inject pace and power to their side with a double change around the hour mark. Kennedy Digie came on for Sean Williams, who was a likely change ahead of hooking up with England on Sunday. Ahmed Obeng replaced Perry up front, immediately changing the whole look and approach of the Hednesford side

This seemed to have the desired effect, as Hednesford pushed Bedworth back in the final quarter of the game as they looked for a winner on the day. On sixty-nine minutes, an inswinging Ennis free-kick was headed just over the crossbar by Regan, who stole in at the far post

The Pitmen finally made the breakthrough with nineteen minutes remaining, as an Ennis corner from the right was flicked on at the near post by Tyrone Williams, allowing Todd to stoop and head home at the far post for his second goal of the season

Bedworth briefly threatened an equaliser five minutes later, as Naughton curled a free-kick over the crossbar after the same player had earlier forced a corner from the Pitmen

The hosts finally put a bit of gloss on a fairly uninspiring performance with eight minutes remaining, as man of the match Todd dispossessed Rowe and sent over a cross from the right that Thorley rifled past Hinds from the edge of the penalty area

The Pitmen could afford to relax in the final minutes, allowing the pacy Nathan Modest to come on in place for Ennis to see the game out

So, it's £4,500 in the bank for the Pitmen and a chance to progress in a competition that holds so many great memories for Hednesford fans of a certain age. Monday's draw will be an interesting one for McNally's side as they look to kick-start their season once and for all. Next week - a visit from Lowestoft Town to Keys Park in the Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town: Parton, Disney, Regan, Bailey ©, T. Williams, Trainer, S. Williams (Digie 60), Thorley, Perry (Obeng 62), Ennis (Modest 85), Todd      Subs Unused: Robinson, Patterson, James, Ransome


Bedworth United: Hinds, Tullin, Rowe, Westwood (Albrighton 78), Cartwright ©, Haines, Degville-Cross (Creaney 45), Walters, Wint (Blenkinsopp 83), Naughton, Wesley       Subs Unused: Walker-Donovan, Bryce

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