17.12.2019

F.A. Trophy 1st Round Replay

Chester

Jackson (16), Asante (34)

Hednesford Town

Glover (50)

(2) 2

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

613

Elliot Hodge

W D W W L W L W D L

 

Stratford Town (H) 21.12.19

The Pitmen exit this season's F.A. Trophy at the first round stage this evening - but not after they had produced a fine second half display at Chester's Deva Stadium to push their higher league opponents all the way to the end of this Tuesday night replay

Saturday's goalless draw between the two sides had seen this hastily-rearranged replay throw up the prospect of the successful team visiting Hednesford's league rivals Royston Town in the next round of the competition on Saturday 11th January. Caretaker managers Danny Glover and Ben Bailey made one change to the side that had started the game on Saturday, brining Izak Reid in at the expense of Tom Fry in midfield

Chester had squandered a number of good chances to win the tie in the first game, with managers Anthony Johnson and Brendan Morley making two changes to their misfiring side as Jamie Morgan and Anthony Dudley came in to replace Matty Hughes and Kevin Roberts for tonight's replay in front of their own supporters

A cold night on the England/Wales border made for a fairly low turnout, with many staying away due to the weather and the time of year. The visitors started assertively, with two long throws from Bailey early giving Chester issues in their penalty area. However, Chester were soon into their rhythm through flying winger Brad Jackson, who forced an error out of Ben O'Hanlon in the sixth minute after chasing the full-back down and winning the ball back wide on the left. Jackson cut inside and tried his luck with an angled shot that Andy Wycherley did well to party away at his near post, only for the ball for fall kindly for Jackson once more, with his drive across the face of the Hednesford goal drifting away from danger

Good defending from Bailey two minutes later denied George Glendon a clear sight at goal after he had been played in by Jackson, only for the Hednesford skipper to snuff the danger out by blocking Glendon's path to the ball and allowing Wycherley to make a save down by the midfielder's feet

Neat play down the Chester left wing saw Danny Elliott combine well with Joel Taylor to create Chester's opening goal of the evening on sixteen minutes, as the full-back's cross was deflected into the path pf Jackson via a miscued effort from Akwasi Asante to allow the winger to turn the ball home at the far post with a fair degree of fortuitousness about the goal

The hosts were very much on tip for this spell of the game, causing the Pitmen issues on both wings with their direct nature and overlapping full-backs. Another deep cross form Taylor on twenty minutes was turned into the path of Jackson once again by Asante, only for Sam Griffiths to put the winger off his stride enough for him to fire well wide of the post

Asante himself was next to test the reflexes of Wycherley on twenty-four minutes, drilling in a low shot from just outside the Hednesford penalty area that the on-loan Telford keeper did well to turn away with a fine save down to his right

An ambitious effort from Taylor three minutes later saw the full-back try his luck with a half-volley from fully thirty yards out that Wycherley did well to claim in his six yard box

However, the Pitmen were opened up once more by the home side on thirty-four minutes, as Elliott did well to get the better of a bouncing ball against Bailey and trick his way past the defender before sending over a fine cross to the far post where Asante was on hand to powerfully head beyond Wycherley's grasp double Chester's advantage

There as more woe for the Pitmen before the restart, as O'Hanlon went down in the centre circle with another in a long line of injury issues for the youngster. He was replaced by Elliot Hodge after being treated and an attempt to play on

The Pitmen had been firmly second best for much of the half, but finished strongly with Hodge's pace giving Chester a new issue to deal with. On forty-one minutes, the ball was worked out to Matt Curley, whose deep cross was headed goalwards by Reece King, only for the midfielder to be denied a goal by a fine save from Chester keeper Russ Griffiths

Just before half-time, Wycherley was on hand to make a save to deny Elliott a third goal for Chester after his own clearance had fallen to Dudley on the edge of the area and allowed the striker to work the ball back into the danger area

With the final action of the half, the Pitmen did well to work the ball into the Chester penalty area through Osebi Abadaki and Reid, culminating in Glover's angled drive being tipped away formal by Griffiths

Dean Glover's half-time talk from the touchline appeared to have a positive effect on the Pitmen, as they emerged with far more purpose in the second half and were the far better team over the next forty-five minutes. They got themselves back into the game with their first effort of not in the second period after fifty minutes, as Hodge did well to send over a cross from the right wing that was cleared only as far as Glover, whose fantastic volley nestled into the far corner of the net for his eleventh goal of the season. Game on 

With their next attack, the Pitmen went close to a quick fire double as Hodge played Glover clean through on goal, only for the striker to lash his shot over the crossbar instead of crossing for James Hurst at the far post

Playing some neat, incisive football, the Pitmen continued to press and created another great chance on fifty-six minutes as Bailey's ball found Abadaki, who cut inside and drove a low shot in at goal that Griffiths did well to palm away at his near post

The away side's pressing game was forcing Chester into hurried clearances and mistakes, with Curley's persistence winning the ball back two minutes later and setting up Hodge, whose shot from twenty-five yards out sailed wide of goal

Chester were still a threat on the counter-attack, however, with Gary Roberts driving the ball just wide on sixty-five minutes after being teed up on the edge of the penalty area by substitute Hughes

Back came the Pitmen through Hurst on sixty-six minutes, clattering the outside of the post with an unstoppable shot following a neat, patient piece of build-up play involving seven Hednesford players as they worked the ball well around the Chester penalty area

Wycherley kept his side in the tie on seventy-one minutes, making a fantastic one-handed save to tip away a certain goal from Dudley after he had been played in behind the Hednesford defence by substitute Elton Ngwatala

With nine minutes remaining and the Pitmen starting run out of time and energy, Charlie Gatter came on in place of Hurst in the anchor role in midfield to offer a more composed influence to the team on the ball

A free-kick from Curley on eighty-three minutes was floated to the far post and found the head of Bailey, whose towering header across the face of goal was turned into the side-netting by Glover, who could not wrap his foot around the ball sufficiently to hook it back into the danger zone

Late substitute George waring headed onto the roof of the Hednesford net with a looping effort on eighty-eight minutes, with the hosts using good game management skills to see off the late threat of a tiring Hednesford team in added time

All in all, the Pitmen and their supporters can be pleased with their efforts over the two games after pushing a top step two side all the way and not letting them control the tie for any length of time. The second half performance on another day would have given the visitors a shot at extra time and possibly penalties, but Chester showed their extra experience to see out a challenging second period to move into the next round. It's a return to league duty for the Pitmen on Saturday, as they host lowly Stratford Town looking to gain revenge for the 4-1 defeat inflicted on the Pitmen by Stratford last month at Knights Lane in the reverse fixture

Chester: Griffiths, Morgan ©, Taylor, G. Roberts © , Livesey, Grand, Jackson Glendon, Asante (Ngwatala 63), Dudley (Waring 85), Elliott (Hughes 63)      Subs Unused: K. Roberts, Waters, Jones, Stopforth

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey ©, Morris, Hurst (Gatter 81), O'Hanlon (Hodge 36), King, Glover , Abadaki, Reid     Subs Unused: Chambers, Fry, Veiga, Waddison, Lycett

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