F.A. Cup 1st Qualifying Round Replay

Gedling Town

L. Mellon (31)

Hednesford Town

(1) 1

(0) 0



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Darren Alexander


Frickley Athletic (A) 23.9.06

Hednesford crashed out of this season's F.A. Cup at the first hurdle this evening as Northern Counties East League hosts Gedling Town shock the visitors with a smash-and-grab win on a bad-tempered night in Nottinghamshire

Having dominated Saturday's first game and wasted a whole host of chances, Hednesford manager Phil Starbuck elected to make two changes to the starting XI for tonight's replay as striker Dave Whittaker replacing Darren Alexander and Marlon Walters replacing Saturday's goalscorer Tom Franklin in midfield

Gedling manager Gary Hayward will have been happy with his side's spirit at the weekend in frustrating their higher league opponents and made only one change to his side as Lee Buckley came in for Carl Horder in midfield

The tone for the evening was set within the first seconds of a chilly evening as the returning Whittaker forced Gedling goalkeeper Paul Wilson into a save down to his right with a low driven shot; the ball ran free to the incoming Mario Pedro, only for the winger to be beaten to the rebound by the covering Scott Mellon

Ross Dyer's pace in the seventh minute saw him get away from Andy Vickerton and enter the Gedling penalty area, dragging his shot well wide of Wilson's goal from fifteen yards out

Gedling's former Hednesford midfielder Matt Turner was the first of several players who would be booked in the game as he was shown a yellow card by referee Mr Cook in the tenth minute for three successive niggly fouls on Hednesford players

Gedling's goalscorer at the weekend Lee Mellon registered the hosts' first shot at goal three minutes later but lifted his angled shot high over Ryan Young's crossbar from twenty yards out 


Turner received a stern warning from Mr Cook in the seventeenth minute after breaking into the Hednesford penalty area before throwing himself to the ground in comical style. The referee gestured for the Gedling man to get to his feet and ticked him off for simulation rather than award a penalty kick, which irked Hayward and his bench to the extent that they ganged up on the assistant on the bench side in a bid to convince him to award his side a spot-kick

Dyer almost got out Pitmen in front on twenty minutes with their best chance of the game so far but wasted a good chance after being set up by Whittaker's quick thinking, firing over the crossbar after his striker partner's turn and pass


Tackles were flying in everywhere from both sides to the point that Mr Cook stopped the game midway through the first period to call both managers together and warned them of their conduct after Dominic Jones's late tackle on Chris White proved to be the final straw

However, Hayward seemed to disregard this plea from the referee and his side continued to show their aggressive side to the game in a bid to upset the Pitmen; Tim Hogg was cautioned just sixty seconds later for a crude late tackle on Dyer to stop him from entering the Gedling penalty area

Hednesford's luck was pretty much summed up by Whittaker's effort on twenty-three minutes as the former Leek man saw his snapshot from fifteen yards out cannon off the inside of the post and crawl along the goal line, with Vickerton on hand to clear the ball before anyone in white could react to the rebound

Tom Marshall headed wide at the near post four minutes later as Pedro's inswinging corner was met by the youngster, who nipped into the six-yard box ahead of Scott Pratt

Sixty seconds later, Whittaker's chest-down to Marlon Walters was controlled by the former Wolves midfielder, whose subsequent shot was straight into the hands of Wilson

The Pitmen were made to pay for totting up all of the missed chances as Gedling once again took the lead against the run of play on thirty-one minutes. A cross from James Jepson into the area was not dealt with by a ball-watching Hednesford defence, allowing Lee Mellon to head past Young unchallenged from close-range

Good play from Phil Hadland three minutes later saw the winger lead Scott Mellon a merry dance down the right-wing, jinking in and out to leave the left-back tied up in knots before crossing for Whittaker, whose header on the stretch was just wide of the far post

Dyer was the latest player to incur the wrath of the busy Mr Cook on thirty-seven minutes as he was booked for a foul on Dion Evans right in front of the Gedling bench, who demanded retribution on the striker from the referee in another display of needless aggression

In first-half added time, Chris White exchanged passes with Walters before attempting an ambitious effort from nearly thirty yards out that drifted wide of the upright

Hednesford's frustrations continued into the second half as they dominated the game once more without reward as Gedling stood firm in the face of pressure from their higher league opponents. Dyer made some room for himself down the right and crossed for Whittaker on forty-eight minutes, only for the striker to have his shot blocked from close-range when on another occasion he would sidefoot the ball home. The ball ran to Hadland, whose follow-up shot was also blocked by more desperate last-ditch Gedling defending

On fifty-six minutes, Gelding could have doubled their advantage through Lee Mellon once more as he seized upon a free-kick from Evans and drilled his shot over the crossbar from only twelve yards out

Alexander was introduced into the game by a visibly frustrated Starbuck, who had been involved in several unflattering exchanges with his opposite number Hayward, with the former Telford striker replacing the ineffective Pedro as the Pitmen moved to a 4-3-3 formation

Once again, the game went a little wayward for a spell with the referee losing control of proceedings after somehow failing to show Evans a card of any colour for a late challenge on Iain Screaton, which once again provoked a war of words between the two benches

Gedling started to use a number of spoiling tactics to break the game up, with Turner going down holding his face after running into White on sixty-six minutes. With the Pitmen on the counter-attack, Mr Cook halted the game to allow Turner to have treatment, although the injury had mysteriously moved to his leg once he received attention from the Gedling physio. Despite this being pointed out by the Hednesford players, Mr Cook failed to have a word with Turner for yet another show of simulation

Lee Mellon was the latest Gedling player to hoodwink the referee three minutes later as he took a ridiculous dive just outside the Hednesford penalty area after Walters had challenged him but pulled his leg away at the last minute. Skipper Danny Jellicoe was spoken to by the hapless Mr Cook after once again pointing out Mellon's ease at going down

The resultant free-kick from Turner found Mellon lurking in the six-yard box, only for Young to spot the danger and punch the ball away from the goalscorer as he looked to turn the ball home

A tackle by Marshall on Jepson with seventeen minutes remaining saw the winger hot the deck as if he had been shot, provoking the Gedling players into a bout of pushing and shoving of Marshall in a bid to get the referee to send him off. Marshall was shown a yellow card for the foul, with Jepson going from rolling on the floor to making a run up field in a matter of seconds after the award of the free-kick

Alexander laid the ball off the Whittaker on seventy-seven minutes after some good hold-up play from the substitute to hold off a challenge from Vickerton, only for the luckless Hednesford number ten to drag his low shot wide of goal

Wilson was alert to over a header from Jellicoe three minutes later as Hadland's free-kick was met by a full-blooded header towards goal by the Hednesford skipper

Gedling substitute Horder - on for Evans in midfield - met a Turner free-kick from eight yards out with his head, looping his effort over the head of Young before the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar

The Pitmen were getting desperate in their attempts to take the game to extra-time, with Marshall swinging in a corner kick on eighty-five minutes that caught everyone out and drifted towards goal, only for Hogg to hack the ball off the line

With two minutes remaining, Alexander and Dyer linked up down the left-wing and played the ball back to Marshall, whose deep cross was turned wide by Hadland at the far post


More unpleasantness followed in added time as Buckley was shown a yellow card for a poor challenge on Hadland, followed sixty seconds later by a caution for Jones after he had halted Screaton's progress. This was once again met with protests from the Hednesford bench, who accused Hayward and his players of deliberately time-wasting in an attempt to break the play up

Gedling held on through the five minutes of added time to record a famous victory over their higher league opponents, although there was more finger-pointing and arguments between the benches at the final whistle as Ramshaw and Hayward clashed once more and had to be separated by their respective benches. Ignoring the obvious spoiling tactics employed by the hosts, the Pitmen should have seen off Gedling over the two games having had countless chances to see off the challenge of their step six opponents and had failed to take any that had been presented to them. Gedling will now go on to face Rocester in the second qualifying round, with the Pitmen returning to league action on Saturday as they make a first-ever league visit to Frickley Athletic

Gedling Town: Wilson, Pratt, S. Mellon, Hogg , Vickerton ©, Buckley , Evans (Horder 65), L. Mellon, Jones , Turner  (Spears 89), Jepson (Green 80)      Sub Unused: Widdowson, Scaife

Hednesford Town: Young, Adams, Marshall , White, Jellicoe ©, Screaton, Pedro (Alexander 60), Walters, Dyer , Whittaker, Hadland       Subs Unused: Groves, Meakin-Richards, Ridley, Brown