Match deleted from records in MaY 2020 after 2019-2020 season voided due to coronavirus

5.10.2019

 

F.A. Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

King (6), Morris (42), (62), Glover (64)

Blyth Spartans

Roberts (40), (51)

(2) 4

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

616

Osebi Abadaki

W W W L W W W W D W

 

Royston Town (H) 12.10.19

The Pitmen's F.A. Cup adventure continues into the fourth qualifying round of this season's competition this afternoon, as Gary Hayward's side produce arguably their best performance of 2019-2020 to date to down Vanarama National League North strugglers Blyth Spartans at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park

An unbeaten September had left the Pitmen with plenty to be confident about going into today's third qualifying round game, with the club handily placed in the league table just behind league leaders Rushall Olympic and gunning for a Blyth side struggling near the foot of their league. Hayward made one change to the side that had started against AFC Rushden & Diamonds last time out as he welcomed back Danny Glover into the starting XI, moving Kieran Wells to the substitute's bench. Jack Hallahan was fit again to take his place amongst the substitutes, but Ben O'Hanlon was ruled out once again due to his broken foot. New boys Andre Brown and Elliot Hodge - signed this week from AFC Telford United and Kettering Town respectively - were ineligible for today's cup tie having played in the previous round for their clubs and would have to wait until next weekend's home game with Royston Town to make their debuts

Blyth arrived in South Staffordshire for the first time since 2016 off the back of a morale-boosting league win over AFC Telford last weekend, their first win in the league this season that left Lee Clark's side still rooted to the foot of the National League North table. This had been their second win of the week after progressing to this round of the cup in midweek, courtesy of a 1-0 win over league rivals Curzon Ashton in their second qualifying round replay. Clark stuck with the same side that had won against Telford a week ago, including the talented Callum Roberts in his team once more as the former Newcastle youngster continued to attract interest from league clubs

On a cool early autumn afternoon, it was the step three Pitmen who made the more assertive start and scored with their first real chance in the sixth minute. James Hurst's ball up to Osebi Abadaki saw the winger win a free-kick just outside the Blyth penalty area, allowing the excellent Tom Elliott to float a ball to the far post where Reece King was on hand to head Kieran Morris's flick-on past Mark Foden in the Spartans goal for his second goal of the season

Blyth responded through Michael Sweet, who got goal side of Sam Griffiths in the tenth minute to latch onto a cross from skipper Robbie Dale, only to lift his shot from twelves yards out high over Daniel Platt's crossbar

The Pitmen had the ball in the net once again in the tenth minute as Morris steered Hurst's header into the net from close range, only to be denied by a late flag on the far side after Elliott's initial corner had drifted out of play before Ben Bailey could head it back into Hurst's path

Abadaki was next to try his luck in the fifteenth minute, cutting inside from the left wing and drifting past Lewis Ritson after receiving a long pass from King. The winger drilled a shot at goal on the run, but got his angles wrong and fired wide of Foden's far post

Roberts lifted a free-kick just outside the Hednesford penalty area just over the crossbar on seventeen minutes before a neat passage of play from the home side a couple of minutes later culminated in a miscued shot from the lively Enoch Andoh that drifted wide of the far post

The home side forced three corners in succession midway through the half as they continued to make their nervy-looking higher league opponents work from set-pieces. Andoh thought he had won a penalty for his side on twenty-nine minutes as he was played through on goal by Elliott, only to be pushed over by Ritson as he made his way into the penalty area. Amazingly, the referee Mr. Mulhall failed to award the hosts a penalty and the game continued

A flowing move down the left wing from Spartans on thirty-two minutes saw the dangerous Roberts turn inside Matt Curley before driving his low shot into the side netting from a slight angle

The Pitmen were the architects of their own downfall, however, as they cheaply gave possession away on forty minutes as they tried to play their way out of trouble and gifted the ball to Roberts in midfield. The former Newcastle man drove at the retreating Hednesford defence, holding off a challenge from King before skipping past Morris and firing past Platt from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area. A great solo goal no doubt, but one that was ultimately avoidable for the home side against a gifted player playing in a higher-ranked side

With half-time looming, the Pitmen produced another well-worked set-piece to put them back into the lead ahead of the break as Elliott's out-swinging corner was headed home by Kieran Morris for his second goal of the afternoon, although Foden will have been disappointed at allowing a fairly tame header to squirm out of his grasp and into the net

The busy Glover almost put a gloss on a fine first-half Hednesford performance in added time, lifting a free-kick on the edge of the Blyth penalty area just over the crossbar after Hurst had teed him up

Blyth emerged with more purpose in the early stages of the second half, with Adam Wrightson lifting a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area a few moments after the restart. The Pitmen failed to close ranks effectively after this early warning, as Dale broke down the right flank on fifty-one minutes before pulling the ball back into the path of Roberts, who grabbed his second of the game to level matters up once more with another well-struck effort across the body of Platt and into the far corner of the net

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on fifty-seven minutes, as Andoh was taken off following another useful hour under his belt as he continued his path back to full fitness and was replaced by Brad Wells

Blyth sensed that the game may be turning in their favour as they continued to have the better of the playing the opening fifteen minuets of the second half as they forced three corners in a row out of the suddenly-hesitant Hednesford defence

However, after seeing out Blyth's spell of pressure the Pitmen took the lead for the third time in the game on sixty-two minutes as Morris notched his second goal of the game, once again from a set-piece. Elliott's initial corner was cleared to the edge of the Blyth penalty area, prompting Bailey to head back into the danger zone. Central defensive partner Morris was alive to the looping ball and headed past Foden from six yards out to make it 3-2 in an enthralling, absorbing cup tie

The Pitmen put clear space between them and Blyth two minutes later as Hurst's lofted clearance dropped in behind the Spartans defence, allowing Glover to stride in the acres of empty space and skip past Foden's challenge to tuck the ball into the empty net from close range for his sixth goal of the season and essentially seal the Pitmen's passage into the next round

Clark's response was to make a bold triple substitution in a vain attempt to get back into the game as the Hednesford supporters goaded the former Newcastle and Sunderland man at the perilous state of his job at Spartans with his side staring at a cup upset

Abadaki was still in the mood for more goals, making another fine run down the wing on seventy minutes before cutting inside Jack Hunter and laying the ball off to Elliott, whose goal bound effort was blocked at the near post

More delightful interplay from Hurst, Curley and Elliott saw Glover played through on goal with twelve minutes left, only for Foden to make a block at his near post to deny the striker his second goal of the afternoon

With eight minutes remaining, goalscorer Glover was afforded his moment of applause from the appreciative Hednesford crowd, as he was taken off in place of Kieran Wells up front

Wells was straight into the action, doing well to turn Ritson on eighty-four minutes and drive the ball across the face of the Blyth goal with no-one in white around to turn the loose ball home from close-range

Blyth's performance was perhaps summed up in the final minute of the game, as Roberts collected a loose ball twenty-five yards from goal but lifted his effort high over the crossbar to delighted cheers from the home crowd

A fine team performance from the Pitmen, who eased to the win in a professional manner and put themselves into the hat for Monday's fourth qualifying round draw, where National League big guns such as Notts County, Chesterfield and Wrexham lie in wait for Hayward's spirited troops. On current form, the Pitmen will fear no-one having enjoyed a fruitful run in the competition so far this term and over £20,000 pocketed already from three games. They return to league action next weekend as they look to return to the top of the Southern Premier League Central table as they face Royston Town in yet another home game at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park

 

Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey ©, Morris, Hurst, Abadaki, King, Glover (K. Wells 82), Elliott, Andoh (B. Wells 57)    Subs Unused: Gatter, Fry, Daniels, Hallahan, Reid

 

Blyth Spartans: Foden , Robson, Callaghan, Mullen, Ritson, Devitt (Hunter 65), Wrightson, Scott (Evans 65), Sweet, Roberts, Dale © (Amantchi 65)     Subs Unused: Mouanda, Harker

 

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