F.A. Trophy 2nd Round

Hednesford Town

Lake (7), (57)


Preen (70)

(1) 2

(0) 1



Current Form

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Stuart Lake



Crawley Town (H) 15.12.01

The Pitmen move into the third round of this season's F.A. Trophy after edging out UniBond League side Gateshead at a misty Keys Park this evening to set up a trip to former Conference opponents Scarborough in the next round


Saturday's defeat at Tiverton Town had once again left Kenny Hibbitt scratching his head at the inconsistency of his squad after they continued to produce patchy form in all competitions. Hibbitt made three changes to the side that had started at Ladysmead as he brought Stewart Airdrie, Phil Trainer and Leon Brown into the side at the expense of new signing Lee Barrow, James Dyson and Graham Lancashire. Lancashire's exclusion, as well as Kevin Francis's continued appearance amongst the substitutes, raised a few eyebrows as it left 17-year-olds Brown and Damien Charie to lead the line tonight in the absence of the more experienced pair and the injured Neil Davis


Gateshead finally made it to Keys Park after two previous attempt to play this game last week failed due to a waterlogged pitch at Keys Park. Player/manager Paul Proudlock had seen his side beat Hyde United 4-1 at the International Stadium on Saturday and stuck with the same XI that had started against the Tigers as he looked for back-to-back wins from his side and a chance to face one of their more local rivals in the form of Scarborough


The action started straight away as the Pitmen were almost handed a chance after just twenty-five seconds; Gateshead keeper Adrian Swan made a mistake after the ball was played back to him, allowing Brown to nip in and claim the ball. However, the youth team graduate was denied a clear shot at goal by a sliding challenge from former Sunderland man Steve Agnew who cleared the ball for a Hednesford corner

From the resultant Dean Craven corner, the Pitmen had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Mr. Holbrook after a suspected handball by Mick Morrell and the game continued


Charie did well to skip past a challenge from Agnew and race into space down the Gateshead right in the fifth minute, only to lash his angled drive high over the crossbar when a square ball to Brown may have been a better option

Hednesford were rewarded for their enterprising start to the game in the seventh minute as Stuart Lake picked up a Russell Dodd pass in midfield before unleashing an unstoppable shot from fully thirty yards that flew past Swan and into the corner of the net. A fine goal and another contender for goal of the season in the process

 Gateshead responded with a long-range effort of their own two minutes later as Agnew shot just wide of Mark Gayle's goal from twenty-five yards out from a free-kick won by Gareth McAlindon


On fourteen minutes, Gateshead's Paul Talbot tangled with Craven and won a fifty-fifty ball before letting fly from long-range that was turned behind by Matt Gardiner for a corner kick


The Pitmen weathered the Gateshead pressure well and reacted with a counter-attack of their own three minutes later; Dodd's quickly-taken free-kick played Airdrie into space down the right flank to allow the winger to run into the Gateshead penalty area unchallenged. A combination of Swan and Mark Sunley did enough to force Airdrie wide of goal and fire into the side-netting with a miscued effort

On twenty-five minutes, Gateshead's Steve Preen got clear of Wayne Simpson to get on the end of a pass from Agnew but was denied an equaliser by a fine save from Gayle to his right-hand side


The same player went close again for the visitors three minutes later as Talbot's lofted ball was met by the head from Preen, whose header fell onto the top of Gayle's net

Lake almost doubled his, and the Pitmen's goal tally for the evening on thirty-five minutes as he met an Airdrie free-kick with his head but glanced his effort a foot or so over Swan's crossbar


A minute later, Gateshead felt that they had a shout for a penalty kick themselves as Preen felt he had been pulled back by Gardiner as he got onto the end of a corner kick from McAlindon, only for Mr. Holbrook to continue with the game

Gateshead were indebted to Rob Jones on forty-two minutes as the centre-back made a last-ditch challenge on Charie to clear the ball away from the youngster after Airdrie's pass had played him into the Gateshead penalty area


In the final minute of a keenly-contested first period, Craven tested the reflexes of Swan with a curling free-kick from fully twenty-five yards out that was punched away from danger by the visiting stopper


The hardy 252 souls that had turned out to watch tonight's tie had certainly got their money's worth so far in a pleasantly competitive game where both sides had thrown caution to the wind, possibly conscious of the reality of a replay neither side really wanted and looking to end the tie on the night. The temperature continued to drop as the second half progressed, with some supporters retiring to the bar to watch the remainder of the game in the relative warmth of the Chase Suite


Gayle dropped an early corner kick from McAlindon at the feet of Preen before claiming it at the second attempt, whilst Swan followed suit on fifty-one minutes as he fumbled a Lucas free-kick before smothering the ball inside his six-yard box ahead of Brown


The Pitmen put themselves clear of Gateshead on fifty-seven minutes as man of the match Lake grabbed the Pitmen's second goal of the night; another long-range effort from the long-serving midfielder took a wicked deflection off the heel of Jones and wrong-footed Swan, sending the keeper the wrong way as the ball ended up in the opposite corner of the net


Lake went close to scoring his first-ever Hednesford hat-trick three minutes later but was denied in bizarre circumstances as his goalbound header from a Craven cross was inadvertedly deflected away by referee Mr. Holbrook


Trainer had been quiet down the right flank for the Pitmen after two impressive games prior to this since arriving on loan from Crewe. One run from him on sixty-three minutes saw him drift past both Talbot and Jones before crossing for Brown, whose scuffed effort failed to test Swan at his far post


Gayle saved well from Richie Alderson on sixty-seven minutes, turning the midfielder's low drive away from goal with a two-handed stop after Rob Bowman's free-kick had found Alderson unmarked at the far post

Gateshead pulled a goal back three minutes later as a corner by McAlindon on the right dropped at the feet of Preen, who collected the ball and cleverly back-heeled it nto the net as he was facing away from goal to give the away side hope


Back came the Pitmen, looking to restore their two-goal advantage and avoid a late salvo from Gateshead; Trainer lifted a shot over the crossbar on seventy-three minutes, followed a minute later by a great run from Airdrie that played Craven into space on the edge of the Gateshead penalty area, only for the midfielder to drag his low shot wide of goal


Swan was alert to claim a free-kick from Lucas on seventy-nine minutes, doing well to snatch a high ball off the head of Lake once more at the near post after another late run into the box by the midfielder


The Pitmen made their one change of the evening with ten minutes to go as Lancashire came on to add valuable experience to the forward line in place of the tiring Charie


Lucas did brilliantly to deny Gateshead a leveller on eighty-four minutes, denying Preen a certain goal with a brilliant block from eight yards out after the striker had picked the ball up in space and fired goalwards 

Gateshead sensed an equaliser and continued to press a nervous-looking Hednesford defence in the final minutes of the game. Gayle made a fine stop with three minutes remaining to push away a free-kick from Agnew which was on target after the Gateshead skipper had been fouled by Lake on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area


Late desperation from the visitors saw them send over successive corners into the Hednesford six-yard box, with the second one from McAlindon dropped by Gayle and leading to a frantic scramble on the goal line. Mr. Holbrook awarded the Pitmen a free-kick after Gayle had landed on the ball and was kicked by various Gateshead players whilst on the ground as they looked to force the ball home


This was enough respite needed for the Pitmen to clear their lines and see the game out, earning themselves a trip to the McCain Stadium next month in the third round of this season's competition. It's a return to league action at the weekend for Hibbitt's men as they entertain Crawley Town for the first time ever at Keys Park


Hednesford Town: Gayle, Dodd , Lucas ©, Simpson, Gardiner, Airdrie, Lake , Trainer, Brown, Charie (Lancashire 80), Craven     Subs Unused: Francis, Williams, Dyson, Jenkins


Gateshead: Swan, Bowman, Talbot, Sunley, Jones, Agnew ©, Morrell, Thompson (Bowey 75), Preen, McAlindon, Alderson (Painter 67)      Subs Unused: Proudlock, Taylor, Waind