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F.A. Trophy 1st Qualifying Round


Wilcox (43)

Hednesford Town

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(0) 0



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Ben Bailey


Bashley (A) 24.10.09

Hednesford's hopes of another famous run in non-league's biggest competition were dashed at the first hurdle yet again this afternoon, as former UniBond Premier League rivals Buxton sneaked into the next round at the expense of the disjointed Pitmen

Manager Simon Line was forced into two changes to his starting line-up, with new signing Grant Goodhead cup-tied and Justin Nisbett suspended. Recent acquisition from AFC Telford United Steve Jagielka came in for Nisbett, whilst Scott Lycett came back into the side to replace Goodhead - this move allowed Ben Bailey to return to his natural home in central defence. There were also two new names on the bench, with youngster Robert Stevenson and former Market Drayton Town man James Carvey named amongst the replacements

Buxton - struggling towards the foot of the UniBond Premier League table - had beaten league rivals Bradford (Park Avenue) in an F.A. Cup 2nd qualifying round replay in midweek to set up a home tie with the Pitmen's league rivals Stourbridge in the final qualifying round next weekend. Manager John Reed was without the services of both Scott Maxfield and Dorryll Proffitt for today's game, so made one change to the side that had started on Monday night as Stevens replaced Maxfield in defence

The away side started briskly, getting the ball down and playing it along the floor. A very early penalty shout from Elliott Durrell was turned away by the referee, but a second shout on nine minutes could not be ignored. Ross Dyer picked the ball a yard inside the penalty area before he was tripped by Buxton defender Terry Agus, leaving match official Paul Norris with little choice but to award the penalty. Despite Dyer's excellent goal record from the spot, it was a surprise to many that Durrell stepped up to take the kick - and then promptly wished he hadn't - as he placed a tame kick to Buxton keeper Scott Hartley's left, allowing Hartley to make an easy save

The missed spot-kick failed to dampen the Pitmen's enthusiasm going forward, as they enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half-hour. Lycett, back in contention again, was making his mark in midfield with a busy display of tackling and running. Up front, Dyer and Tyrone Barnett were looking to break Buxton's offside trap with a number of clever runs but received very little from the midfield area

Barnett got his head to a Durrell corner kick on twenty minutes but headed well over after getting to the ball ahead of a cluster of other incoming players

At the other end, the defence was holding together well after recent poor performances, with Richard Walker and the excellent Bailey keeping former Guiseley striker Gavin Knight quiet. Knight's only real effort on the half-hour was a hopeful shot that bounced through to Gavin Ward

Jagielka was struggling to come to terms with the pace of the game, playing on the right-hand side of midfield. On three occasions, he allowed Sean Platt to make an overlapping run to send over a cross, rather than take the ball on himself. Platt's third cross was a deep ball to the far post, where Dyer failed to get his header on target and headed wide

 As both teams looked to be heading down the tunnel on level terms at the break, the home side grabbed the all-important opener on forty-three minutes. Steve Ridley found Knight on the edge of the area, with the burly striker batting off Walker's challenge to square the ball to Joe Wilcox, who fired confidently past Ward with a first time shot from seventeen yards out

Line's half time team talk must have been ripped up and thrown away at this point, as the Pitmen had it all to do in the second half. They had had the better of the play on balance in the first half, but shaky defending always seems to be just around the corner when it comes to the Pitmen

The hosts seemed to be boosted by their lead and were far more competitive in the second period. Hednesford's forwards continued to plug away, but with a distinct lack of creativity from behind them, they were forced to carve out chances for themselves. Durrell wasted a good opportunity to set up Dyer just after the break, electing to shoot instead of square the ball to his strike partner, allowing the shot to be blocked

The Bucks were looking the more likely to grab a goal and extend their lead with Knight firing only inches past Ward's far post on fifty-five minutes, given too much room by the Hednesford defence to shape and shoot

Back came the away side, and Barnett should have equalised just before the hour mark but made a terrible mess of his chance. Durrell got on the end of probably Hednesford's best passing move of the game, darting to the touchline and pulling the ball back across goal, where Dyer and Barnett were racing in. The ball was too far in front of Dyer, but the ball fell perfectly for Barnett, who had the simple task of sidefooting home; however, he got his feet all wrong, and somehow managed to miss, despite it looking easier to score from a yard out

The Pitmen continued out chances, with Bailey heading over the bar with a firm header from Durrell's corner, closely followed by a similar move that saw Walker head way over the bar

Barnett headed over from Platt's deep cross, looking to make amends for the miss earlier on, with the Buxton supporters taking great delight in giving the forward man the bird

Jagielka, who had been a peripheral figure in the first half but had struggled in the second, was brought off in favour of Aaron Gibson with thirteen minutes remaining, as Line looked to inject pace into his side with the speedy wing-back

A succession of corners and free-kicks for the Pitmen failed to really test a stubborn Buxton defence in the final ten minutes, with Agus and the rest of his defenders coping with ease against a Hednesford side that looked to have run out of ideas

Indeed, Knight could have inflicted further misery on the Pitmen with four minutes to go, catching the static defence cold with a well-timed run. However, Platt had spotted Knight's run and made a brilliant covering tackle just as Knight looked to shoot

So, Hednesford head out of their third knockout tournament already this season, with early exits from the F.A. Cup and Birmingham Senior Cup already 'achieved'. Mr Line will now be well aware of the problems he faces, and with the likelihood of new faces in the next few weeks, it looks like a long old season at Keys Park as they look to simply consolidate their position in the Zamaretto Premier. Promotion? Not likely on this showing

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Agus, Liversedge, Anderson, Stevens, Lunsgden, Millar, Wilcox (Reed 80), Knight, Ridley      Subs Unused: Burgess, McGaw, Towey, Pressman

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Martin, Walker ©, Bailey, Lycett, Durrell, Aiston, Barnett, Dyer, Jagielka (Gibson 77)       Subs Unused: Overton, Carvey, Stevenson, Flynn

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