F.A. Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Bromsgrove Rovers

Atkinson (61), Scheppel (74)

(0) 0

(0) 2




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Stuart Lake



Crawley Town (H) 4.10.03

The Pitmen are unceremoniously dumped out of this season's F.A. Cup at the first hurdle by Southern League Western Bromsgrove Rovers as the hosts fall short in front of goal once again to allow their lower league opponents to progress to the third qualifying round

Successive league wins against Worcester City and Dorchester Town had breathed new life into the Pitmen's spluttering Southern Premier League campaign after a difficult opening month to the new season. Coming off the back of two high-scoring wins, manager Barry Powell made only one change to the side that had beaten Dorchester Town last weekend, handing Stuart Lake a first start of the season in place of injured club captain Steve Palmer in midfield. Powell was still without the services of Stuart Ryder and Steve Evans, who were both still unavailable due to injury and joined Palmer in the stands ahead of kick-off

Step three Bromsgrove were sitting in a similar position to the Pitmen in the Western division of the Southern League in mid-table, having won only two of their opening six league games so far this term. They had progressed through two rounds of the F.A Cup already to reach this round, beating Cradley Town 4-0 in the preliminary round and Studley in the previous round to set up today's tie with the Pitmen. Manager George Rooney elected a strong, experienced side for today's game with a sprinkling of players from both Kidderminster Harriers and Worcester City in their ranks. Former Hednesford midfielder James Dyson was named amongst the substitutes but Rovers were without Mark Jones, who was not available for the game as part of the loan agreement between parent club Hednesford and Bromsgrove

On a bright afternoon at Keys Park, Bromsgrove made a good start to proceedings and could have taken the lead in just the third minute of the game; former Worcester striker Mark Benbow lifted a free-kick from the left wing into the danger zone and to his surprise ended up finding the far corner of the net as the ball floated over the heads of everyone, only for an offside flag against Danny Scheppel to rule out what would have been a freak early goal for Benbow

Scheppel and Marcus Jackson linked up well to create another opening for Benbow in the eleventh minute, playing a neat triangle of passes on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area to play Benbow in, only for a timely challenge from Brindley to steal the ball away from the toe of the striker

The in-form Nathan Lamey was first to test the Rovers defence on eighteen minutes, picking up a cross from Ashley Dodd and letting rip from the edge of the penalty area that Rovers keeper Paul Wyatt did well to make a good save

An incisive ball from Lake on twenty-three minutes found Lamey in behind the Bromsgrove defence, with the striker forced wide by skipper Steve Pope which narrowed the angle for Lamey to shoot which culminated in Lamey lashing his shot well wide of goal

Five minutes later, an inswinging corner from Benbow was missed by Young at his near post and dropped at the feet of striker Peter Sutton, who fired the loose ball wide at the far post with time to pick his spot

A good run from Grant Beckett on thirty-four minutes saw the left-back skip past a challenge from Williams and send over a cross from the byeline, with Benbow heading high over the crossbar as he was pressured into a rushed header by Brindley's presence

The Pitmen came back into the game in the final ten minutes of the first half, with Brindley going close to opening the scoring on forty minutes as he nodded a long throw from Lake just wide of the near post after making a late run into the box

In first-half added time, Anthrobus exchanged passes with Carl Palmer before driving a cross into the six-yard box where there was no one in white to turn the loose ball into the empty net from close-range

Five minutes after the restart, Lamey was once again off-target as he drilled a low shot wide of goal after getting to a Williams cross before marker Dave Benton

This was, unfortunately, as good as it got for the Pitmen, as they sunk into their shells and allowed their lower league opponents to take the initiative in the final half-hour of the game. Former Bilston Town man Jackson side-footed an effort straight into the grateful arms of Young on fifty-seven minutes after Beckett had played a hopeful ball in behind the Hednesford defenders before Benbow was crowded out by desperate Pitmen defending a minute later after Beckett's free-kick dropped to him in the penalty area

Bromsgrove's pressure finally told with the opening goal on sixty-one minutes as Jackson won another corner kick off the shoulder of Williams, prompting Benbow to send over another delightful cross that Mark Atkinson turned home from twelve yards out. Terrible defending from the hosts, a good finish from the Bromsgrove man

The Pitmen resorted to a hoof and run approach to the game after conceding this goal, aiming for the head of Anthrobus at every opportunity with limited success; one knock-down from the big man found Karl Brown lurking on the edge of the penalty area in the sixty-seventh minute, but Brown's miscued effort skewed well wide of goal without testing Wyatt

With eighteen minutes remaining, Powell made a bold double change to his misfiring side as he brought Damien Charie on in place of Dodd and Mark Danks replacing Lamey up front to renew his partnership with Anthrobus 

Rovers took the game away from the hosts two minutes later when Brindley's firm header back to Young was fumbled by the Hednesford keeper at the worst moment possible, allowing Scheppel to nip in and turn the loose ball into the empty net

Powell faced a backlash from a number of voices in the crowd following the second Bromsgrove goal, with the former Wolves man left as an isolated figure in front of his dugout as his side continued to offer little in the way of a threat against their lower league opponents. Indeed, Bromsgrove could have added to their tally on eighty minutes as Jackson crossed for Benbow once more, only for the striker's header to only find the side netting

With four minutes remaining, another long throw from Lake on the right flank found the head of Brindley, whose goalbound header was claimed by Wyatt on his goal-line to deny his old foe from Kidderminster from years gone by


It had been a meagre performance from the Pitmen, met with a chorus of boos from the supporters at the final whistle as they are humbled on their own patch by a well-organised Bromsgrove side who took their chances when the home side couldn't. Powell has much to do in the coming week before his side return to league action to face yet another one of the much-fancied sides in the league in the form of Crawley Town, who make the long journey to Keys Park next weekend 

Hednesford Town: Young, Williams, Hines, Dodd (Charie 72), Simkin ©, Brindley, C. Palmer, LakeAnthrobus, Lamey (Swann 79), Brown (Danks 72)       Subs Unused: Maguire, P. Evans

Bromsgrove Rovers: Wyatt, Frost, Hillman, Pope ©, Benton, Beckett, Jackson, Scheppel, Sutton, Benbow, Atkinson       Subs Unused: Dawson, Gandy, Dyson, James, Banner