F.A. Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Woolfe (30), MacPherson (36)


Nix (59), Reed (70)

(1) 2

(0) 2



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Neil Harvey


Buxton (A) 9.10.12

The two Evo-Stik Premier League rivals will have to do it all again in midweek, as the Pitmen blew a 2-0 first-half lead to allow Buxton another shot at the tie on Wednesday night

Darren Campion was ruled out of the game courtesy of injury, with Sam Barnes deputising at left-back in his absence in the only change to the side that had beaten Bedworth United in the F.A. Trophy last weekend

Buxton had won their last three games on the road and started much the stronger of the two sides in the opening stages. Three successive corner kicks tested the Pitmen's mettle, followed by a free-kick from Kevin Sandwith that was eventually cleared by the Hednesford defence

The first clear chance of the game came on fifteen minutes, as Steve Istead got in ahead of the Hednesford defenders and headed over the bar from ten yards out

On eighteen minutes, a Sandwith corner kick was met firmly by Marc Roberts, whose header cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches. Yet again, the Hednesford central defence was all at sea from a set-piece - a continued worrying trend

To this point, we had seen very little of the Pitmen in an attacking sense. It took until the midway point of the half for the hosts to make a meaningful move forwards - Nathan Woolfe picking up the loose ball and firing low into a crowd of Buxton defenders, but seeing his effort diverted wide for a corner kick

The Pitmen picked up their game at this point, and finally started to create openings. Elliott Durrell got it all wrong on twenty-eight minutes, scuffing a long-range effort well wide of goal after setting himself up

Against the run of play, Hednesford took the lead just after the half-hour mark, with skipper Dave MacPherson notching at the end of a move involving Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey; both strikers did well to hold the ball, before laying it into the path of the midfielder, who stroked the ball home

Suddenly, it was all Hednesford, as Harvey started to cause Buxton problems with his pace and power. His run down the left wing saw him slip the ball into Durrell, who allowed the ball to run to Woolfe. Woolfe composed himself before curling a brilliant shot past Ian Deakin in the Buxton goal

Buxton offered a brief fightback at the end of the half, forcing two corner kicks in the process. The second ball in was headed goalwards by Roberts, but Crane made an easy save low down

The Pitmen may well have thought they had one foot in the next round at this point, and a great chance fell to Durrell with the first attack of the second half. The impressive Harvey made a run to the touchline before pulling the ball back across goal. Rey sold the Buxton defence a dummy, allowing Durrell to run onto the loose ball. Unfortunately, the midfielder blazed over the bar when he really should have hit the target

Durrell went even closer to finishing Buxton off seven minutes later, striking a powerful rising shot that beat Deakin and came crashing back off the underside of the crossbar. Woolfe and MacPherson looked to pounce on the loose ball, but a last-ditch clearance from Sandwith denied the duo a second goal. The resultant corner saw Francino Francis head the ball wide of goal, under pressure from Roberts

The hosts were made to pay for two glorious openings missed, as Kyle Nix pulled Buxton back into the game on the hour mark. Buxton striker Mark Reed was bundled over by Francis, allowing Nix to execute a superb free-kick that beat Crane with pace and swerve

As Buxton looked for an equaliser, the game entered a scrappy stage, with players from both sides booked for niggly challenges

Twenty minutes from time, Buxton grabbed a leveller, as Roberts sent over a cross that was met by the head of Reed - his firm header beat Crane, with questions being asked yet again as to the competence of the Hednesford defence from crosses into the penalty area

Both sides looked to avoid a replay by creating chances in the final quarter of the game, as Deakin denied Durrell on seventy-four minutes. Reed fired wide for Buxton a minute later, before Rob Smith decided to throw on Michael Lennon in place of Rey. Lennon has scored a number of goals against the Bucks over the last few years but was only given seven minutes to help the Pitmen into the fourth qualifying round

Harvey and Durrell combined yet again in the final minute, with the big striker sending Durrell free with a through ball. However, Deakin was alert to the danger and made a fine smothering save, sending the tie to a replay on Wednesday night at Silverlands

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney , Barnes, Bailey, Francis, MacPherson © , Osborne, Durrell, Harvey, Rey (Lennon 82), Woolfe      Subs Unused: O’Connor, Watkis, Taylor, Hornby

Buxton: Deakin, Black, Sandwith, Istead © , Haggerty (Keane 62), Roberts, Stevens, Maxfield, Morris (Towey 89), Nix, Duncum (Reed 45)       Subs Unused: None