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F.A. Cup 1st Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Landell (12)

Cleethorpes Town

Smaller (73)

(1) 1

(0) 1



Current Form

Next Match


Chay Tilt



Cleethorpes Town (A) 7.9.21

The Pitmen can count themselves lucky to still be in this season's F.A. Cup after a lacklustre display against Pitching In Northern Premier League Divison One East side Cleethorpes Town sees the two sides play out a draw at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park this afternoon

Successive 1-1 draws in the league had checked the Pitmen's flying start to the season last week and left them in third place in the table as they took a week off from their league programme. There were two changes to the side from their Bank Holiday Monday draw at Rushall Olympic as Kyle Rowley replaced Jack Chambers and new signing Chay Tilt came straight into the side after making the switch from league rivals Redditch United to replace injured winger Callum King-Harmes

Cleethorpes - visitors over the Pitmen after a replay in the two sides only other meetings back in 2017 in the F.A. Trophy - arrived at Keys Park off the back of a 2-1 win over Bridlington Town. Manager Dave Smith made two changes of his own for today's game as Josh Batty and Liam Dickens came into the Owls side in place of Harry Middleton and Jack McMenemy

In front of a healthy 606-strong crowd, the Pitmen were quicker out of the blocks and made an assertive start to proceedings. Andre Brown made a surging run into the Cleethorpes penalty area in the second minute of the game and was brought down right on the edge of the box by Jordan Cooke. Carter Lycett took the resultant free-kick but could only fire his effort into the Cleethorpes wall

Former QPR and West Brom man Tilt was looking to make an immediate impression for his new side and went close to opening the scoring in. the seventh minute; a marauding run down the left from Lycett saw him beat Sam Topliss for pace and send over a cross into the path of the new signing, who headed just wide of goal from twelve yards out

The hosts used their early period of pressure well and finally took the lead after more play in and around the Cleethorpes penalty area in the twelfth minute. Todd Parker won the ball from Josh Venney and played Tilt into space down the right. The winger took a couple of touches and picked out Andre Landell with a fine cross that the Pitmen's three-goal top scorer headed beyond the reach of Owls goalkeeper Tom Jackson to hand the Pitmen a 1-0 lead

Cleethorpes had looked disjointed and nervy so far, losing the ball cheaply in midfield and struggling with the pace of Landell and Tilt. The pair linked up well in the fifteenth minute as Landell chipped the ball into the path of the winger, only for a tight offside call from the assistant on the Wimblebury side to stop Tilt in his tracks

On seventeen minutes, a quick break from the hosts saw Lycett break free once again down the left flank, this time sending over a low cross that was missed by both Brown and Landell but fell kindly to Tilt, whose low driven shot was turned away by the legs of Jackson

This seemed to act as a prompter for the away side to click into gear, as they came back into the game and started to push their higher level hosts back into their own half as the first period wore on. In the nineteenth minute, defender Oli Donald met a deep corner kick from skipper Alex Flett at the far post but saw his looping header end up on the roof of the net

Full-back Ryan Pryce required a lengthy bout of treatment from Eve Littler after limping out of a challenge down the left midway through the half. Sam Griffiths appeared ready to come on for him but the former Cardiff City man continued for the moment despite noticeably holding his leg through much of the remainder of the first half

Cleethorpes striker Josh Batty really should have levelled matters for the visitors on twenty-seven minutes as a long, hopeful through ball from Laurence McKay somehow found its way through to the striker, who turned past Ben Bailey but scuffed his shot into the ground and struck it straight into the arms of Andy Wycherley

Bailey was the next player to require attention after coming off worst in a challenge on Brody Robertson on the half-hour mark and like Pryce looked to be coming off before electing to play on carrying his knock. Both players looked ill at ease with the ball at their feet for the remainder of the half as they manfully attempted to get to the break without the Pitmen conceding

Defensive stuttering down the right from the Pitmen almost let the visitors in on thirty-three minutes as Parker and Josh Webb got into a muddle that allowed Liam Dickens to pick up the ball and send over a low cross that was eventually turned away from danger by Rowley, under pressure from Batty

The away side were very much on top now and continued to press a static home defensive line that was wishing for half-time to come. A long ball over the top from Topliss on thirty-nine minutes found Robertson in on goal, only for a combination of Wycherley and Rowley to deny the striker a clear shot at goal

In added time, a corner kick from the Owls was headed back across goal by Donald and into the path of Batty, who was denied once more by some last-ditch defending from Bailey at the far post as he looked to turn the ball into the net from eight yards out

In had been a half of two halves for the hosts, who had looked positive and dangerous on the counter-attack in the opening twenty minutes but clumsy and disorganised in the final twenty-fiveBailey finally had to admit defeat at the break as the injury he suffered earlier on finally got the better of him and forced Keene. Meakin-Richards to replace him with Courtney Richards. The midfielder also inherited the captain's armband and slotted into the side in front of the defence with Ison stepping back into the centre-back position vacated by Bailey

The visitors carried on where they had left off at the end of the first half as they continued to press the Pitmen's overworked defence with their high line, closing down the space and forcing errors from their hosts. Robertson exchanged passes with Venney on fifty minutes to play around Rowley but got caught in two minds when he entered the penalty area allowed Webb to pick his pocket before he could get his shot away

The Pitmen were forced into another injury-inflicted change just nine minutes into the second half as Pryce was also forced off after struggling through with an injury picked up in the first period; he was replaced by Griffiths, which saw Webb move across to left-back to accommodate Griffiths and cover for Pryce's withdrawal

Four minutes later, Tilt and Lewis Ison linked up to lay the ball off to Rowley, standing thirty yards from goal. The centre-back took the ball a few yards forwards before unleashing a rising shot from long-range that Jackson held at the second attempt

Richards was the first man in white to pick up a booking just before the hour mark as he brought Topliss down in midfield and incurred the wrath of referee Mr Smith, who showed the substitute a deserved yellow card

Back came the away side, winning successive corners out on the right. The second ball in on sixty-three minutes was met by defender Paul Walker, whose glancing header drifted wide of the far post from six yards out

A minute later, eyebrows were raised across Keys Park as goalscorer Landell was removed from the field of play despite looking the home side's best bet of a goal as he was replaced by Chambers. This saw Brown fighting a lone battle against the tall and authoritative Cleethorpes defenders and was to prove a turning point in the game as the visitors started to turn the screw on their hosts

Robertson drilled a cross-cum-shot wide of goal on sixty-six minutes, followed three minutes later by a tight offside call against Batty as he tried to stay level with play to get on the end of a through ball from Flett

Wycherley was shown a yellow card on sixty-nine minutes for taking his protests too far with Mr Smith after the away side were awarded a corner kick when the Hednesford stopper felt that he had stopped the ball from going over the byeline

This was to be Batty's final involvement in the game as he was replaced with nineteen minutes remaining by Josh Smaller as Cleethorpes sensed a goal was coming...


And arrive it soon did, as Smaller pulled his side level with his very first touch of the ball two minutes later; Flett got past a dawdling Richards and Griffiths before standing up a cross from the left that was headed into the net by Smaller at the far post via a touch off the far post and a possible deflection off the shin of Ison

The visitors sensed a turnaround and dominated the final fifteen minutes or so of play as they looked to play through the static Pitmen time and again. Robertson won a corner off Ison on seventy-six minutes which Flett swung into the far post, where Owls man of the match Cooke headed narrowly wide as Wycherley flapped at the cross

Topliss was booked for the away side with eleven minutes remaining as he brought Brown down just inside the Cleethorpes half as the pair scrapped for a long ball forwards from Rowley

The visitors continued to look the more likely to grab a late winner with Venney getting to the byeline on eighty-four minutes and crossing for Robertson, only for Wycherley to smuggle the ball away from the clutches of the striker at his near post


Webb did well to deny Smaller a late winner with three minutes remaining as he came across to clear the ball in a timely manner before the substitute could get his shot away from twelve yards out


A late free-kick from Flett was pumped into the Hednesford penalty area in the first minute of added time, only for more last-ditch defending from Rowley and a final clearance from Richards

It had been a dreadful showing from the Pitmen for the best part of seventy minutes, and yet they are still in the draw for the second qualifying round and will get another chance to make progress on Tuesday night when they visit the Linden Club in the replay. Cleethorpes will be confident at completing the job against their higher league opponents on their own turf if the Pitmen play with the same naivety and laxness of today's performance to face whoever they draw in the next qualifying round, which will take place on Monday afternoon

Hednesford Town: Wycherley , Webb, Pryce (Griffiths 54), Bailey © (Richards 45 ), Rowley, Ison, Tilt, Parker, Brown, Landell (Chambers 64), Lycett     Subs Unused: Morley, Wollaston, Hanna

Cleethorpes Town: Jackson, Walker, McKay, Topliss , Cooke , Donald, Dickens, Flett ©, Batty (Smaller 71), Robertson, Venney       Subs Unused: Boswell, Lowe, Middleton, Pettinger


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