F.A. Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Carlton Town

Hednesford Town

Clements (80) (penalty)

(0) 0

(0) 1



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Jay Denny


Frickley Athletic (H) 8.10.11

Hednesford have to contend with unseasonably high temperatures, a bone dry, bobbly pitch and a whistle-happy referee this afternoon to book their place in the next round of this season's F.A. Cup, as they inched their way past Evo-Stik Division One (South) side Carlton this afternoon at the Bill Stokeld Stadium

After the 4-0 win over Burscough in midweek, Rob Smith brought back defender Cheyenne Dunkley, who had earned a rest on Tuesday night. With seven substitutes selected for the F.A. Cup, the bench saw youth team players Bradley Grice, Jelani Benjamin-McFarlane and Amani Allen all called up for useful first-team experience

A first view of the pitch brought about concerns as to the potential quality of the game; the grass was brown and patchy, and clearly had had little or no water on it in recent days. The game kicked off in scorching sunshine, as the large Hednesford following basked in record October temperatures with the sun at their backs

The Pitmen kicked off, and within ten seconds of starting had to stop the game as a meaty challenge left Nick Wellecomme on the floor. After a couple of minutes of being treated, the big striker gingerly got to his feet and carried on

The Pitmen started on the front foot, earning three successive corners in the opening five minutes. Marvin Robinson headed well wide from a Clements corner for the Pitmen's first chance of the game

Reuben Wiggins-Thomas was first to register an effort for the hosts on five minutes, firing just wide after Kyle Haynes had been robbed of the ball

Chris Clements had been in impressive form in recent weeks, was given his first chance to have a shot from range on eight minutes as he earned a free-kick twenty yards out. His curing shot looked to be goalbound until it took a deflection off the Carlton wall and went out for a corner kick

Wellecomme had hobbled around the park since treatment for the injury he suffered early on and was forced to succumb on fifteen minutes after being replaced by Danny Quinn

Another raft of corners from the Pitmen almost brought about an opener on twenty minutes, with Chris Shaw looking to repeat his goalscoring heroics of last week from a Campion corner; his near post header just nicked its way past the post as Carlton keeper Danny Marshall watched on

Quinn - without a goal in five games since notching at Rushall Olympic - failed to test Marshall with a horribly mistimed volley on twenty-six minutes that flew high over the crossbar from a Haynes cross

The referee Mr Grundy had already frustrated both sets of supports with the whistle constantly at his lips during the first quarter and further incurred the wrath of the Carlton contingent on the half-hour mark. A through ball found Wiggins-Thomas making a run down the centre of the Hednesford defence, with Dunkley making a clumsy challenge on the former Chesterfield man twenty yards out. Despite calls for a red card for the young defender, the referee awarded a free-kick and booked the Hednesford centre back

This sparked a period of pressure from Carlton, as the Pitmen were pressed back into their own half for the remainder of the half. Skipper Ashley Kitchin headed high over the crossbar from a corner kick on the left, followed by a deep Carlton free-kick that Wiggins-Thomas dragged wide of goal after he had teased Pedro Monteiro

The half ended with a late flurry from the Pitmen, as they broke forward and laid the ball into the path of Clements, who shot wide of the left-hand post

Smith's half time team talk will have been pretty severe, as the Pitmen had failed to take the game to their lower league opponents. Indeed, Carlton could probably feel a little aggrieved that they were not in the lead at the break, such had been their play

However, whatever was said by Smith and Larry Chambers at the break, Hednesford's players failed to heed it, as Carlton continued to carve out chances. Combative midfielder Jermain Hollis fired wide of goal just four minutes after the restart, picking a loose ball up on the edge of the area before shooting wide of Dan Crane's goal

Skipper Kitchin had been a constant menace with his height from set-pieces, and he was the man again to get on the end of a long throw on fifty-two minutes, getting in ahead of Monteiro to glance the ball over the crossbar

There was a real belief about Carlton's play during the early stages of the second half, helped somewhat by a number of favourable decisions from the referee, who appeared to gift the hosts many of the 50-50 decisions in midfield. Three successive corners on the hour mark saw Dunkley, Monteiro and Shaw all at their maximum to deal with the high balls in

The heat and hard pitch started to take its toll on both sides, as the pace of the game slowed in the final twenty minutes. Another Clements free kick on seventy-five minutes tested the reflexes of Marshall, as he fumbled the powerful low effort as it bounced in front of him. In an attempt to get the ball back, Marshall appeared to knock Dunkley off his feet as he shielded the ball. Despite loud protests from players and supporters, the referee again turned away appeals

Four minutes later, and the Pitmen were awarded a penalty, as Clements played in Jay Denny, who attempted to take the ball around Marshall. The Carlton stopper brought the Pitmen's number six down, leaving the referee with little option this time but to award the Pitmen a penalty. Clements placed the ball and slotted it to Marshall's right-hand side to grab his fourth goal in four games

Smith made two quick substitutions in an attempt to close the game down as Decio Gomes came on in place of slipper Darren Campion and Elliott Durrell returned to action at the expense of Osborne

Carlton were limited in their reply late on, as Crane and his defence fielded the hosts' long-range efforts that followed. Indeed, over the ninety minutes, Crane could probably count on both hands the number of touches he had made in the whole game

So, the Pitmen await their opponents in the next round on Monday lunchtime. With Stafford Rangers and Chasetown both going out to lower league opponents this afternoon, the Pitmen can be satisfied with this afternoon's result - if no so much the performance

Carlton Town: Marshall , Darkin , Fletcher, Milns, Kitchen © (Grayson 90), Hall, Hollis, Goward, Wiggins-Thomas, Brown (Gill 84), Smith       Subs Unused: Kimberley, Clarke, Gardner

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Shaw, Monteiro, Dunkley , Denny, Osborne (Durrell 86), Clements (79), Wellecomme (Quinn 14), Robinson, Campion © (Gomes 84)      Subs Unused: Hay, Benjamin-McFarlane, Grice, Allen

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