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F.A. Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Swift (23) (OG)


Hanson (29), Smith (63)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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Sébastian Arnolin


Witton Albion (A) 10.11.07

For the second year in a row, the Pitmen fail to make the first round proper of the F.A. Trophy after an undeserved defeat against fellow UniBond Premier side Guiseley this afternoon at Keys Park


Manager Phil Starbuck had been busy in the transfer market once more this week, bringing three new signings in and placing them all in his starting XI for today's game; ex-Port Vale full-back Neil Brisco came in at left-back, which allowing Ross Adams to return to his favoured right-back slot whilst on-loan midfielder Sébastian Arnolin replacing the cup-tied Chad Sheppard and former Walsall striker Chris Hanna came in up front in favour of Linden Dovey

League rivals Guiseley made the trip down to Keys Park off the back of a 3-1 win over Marine at Nethermoor last weekend, with manager Terry Dolan electing to stick with the XI that had beaten the Mariners to move his side up into third place in the table. James Hanson had added to his burgeoning goal tally for the season last weekend with another strike to make it eleven goals already for the 20-year-old, who was being scouted by several Football League clubs

A lethargic-looking Guiseley side were pushed back into their own third by the Pitmen in the early stages of the tie in search of an early goal. New boy Arnolin - on loan from local rivals Stafford Rangers -  immediately looked at home on the ball, playing a part in the home side's first attack that saw another newbie, Brisco play the ball to the in-form Ross Dyer, who tested Guiseley keeper Steve Dickinson with a shot on the run in the fourth minute

Arnolin also took responsibility for the Pitmen's corner kicks, swinging in three dangerous crosses in quick succession in the sixth minute that the visitors dealt with


David Brown - one of last weekend's goalscorers - could have added to his brace against Stamford in the eighth minute of a busy start but fired high and wide as Danny Ellis came across to narrow the angle for the young winger

Brown followed this chance up by creating an opening for Ross Dyer a minute later, beating his marker with a darting run and pulling the ball across towards Dyer, who just failed to connect to the ball as he made a move into the six-yard box

The Pitmen struck the crossbar for the first time in the game on twelve minutes as skipper Tom Marshall ventured forward to meet an Arnolin corner with his head, but his firmly-headed effort crashed against the crossbar and back into play with Dickinson beaten

Arnolin was next to go close for Hednesford in the eighteenth minute as he clipped a clever free-kick over the Guiseley wall from the left-hand side of the penalty area but saw Dickinson make a fine save to tip his dipping effort away from goal

Alan Nagington had been forced to play in an unfamiliar role out wide but could have opened his account for the Pitmen midway through a dominant first-half thus far from the hists as his low drive towards goal from fifteen yards out was saved by Dickinson 

The Pitmen's early pressure on the Guiseley defence finally told with the hosts taking the lead on twenty-three minutes; Arnolin found space out on the right and made inroads into the penalty area before drilling a cross towards the back post. The onrushing Dyer could not quite get a toe to the ball, only for Guiseley full-back John Swift to turn the ball into his own net from close range as he tried to clear his lines

Stung into action after conceding the opening goal of the afternoon, Guiseley finally made inroads into the Hednesford half and created several chances of their own. Hanson rose highest to meet a cross from Swift on twenty-five minutes, only to head high over the crossbar and also clear the Hednesford end stand

Sixty seconds later, clever play from Richard Dunning saw the midfielder slalom his way past three challenges before driving a twenty-yard effort straight at Rene Gilmartin

The Pitmen's old defensive woes came back to haunt them however just before the half-hour mark as Guiseley grabbed an equaliser. From a corner on the left-hand side, the in-form Hanson rose highest unchallenged to nod the ball past Gilmartin and equalise for the Lions

Wayne Dyer and Arnolin linked up well in midfield on thirty-three minutes, playing a one-two around Richard Krief before playing Nagington into space n the right. He jinked his way inside and drove a shot across the face of Dickinson's goal and just wide of the far post

Adams thought he had given the Pitmen the lead again ten minutes before the break, but a foul on Dickinson by Wayne Dyer before Adams putting the ball into the net from close-range saw the goal ruled out

With four minutes of the first-half remaining, Marshall headed an Arnolin corner back across the Guiseley penalty area at the far post, only for Dickinson to juggle the loose ball in front of Sanna before clutching it to his chest

After Guiseley had no doubt given a rocket at half-time by Dolan at the break, they emerged far more confident, playing like a side that sits third in the UniBond Premier League. Hanson tested Gilmartin with a shot from the edge of the area just sixty seconds after the restart as he was supplied by a pass from Adam Wilson


Guiseley midfielder Dunning forced Gilmartin into a superb diving save to his left on fifty-two minutes, driving a twenty-yard effort at goal following good hold-up play from Hanson but being denied by the goalkeeper's reflexes

Former Southport stopper Dickinson continued to deny the Pitmen with a fine performance at the other end, denying Brown a certain goal on fifty-six minutes with a brilliant instinctive parry to his right that turned the winger's angled shot away from goal

A minute later, the Pitmen made what was to be their only substitution of the afternoon as Brown was replaced by Dovey as Starbuck looked to add more presence to his forward line

Two minutes later, Dickinson was at it again, this time making a fine stop to tip Dyer's snapshot at goal over his crossbar and into the supporters gathered in the Heath Hayes terrace


On fifty-eight minutes Dickinson could do nothing about a shot from Nagington that took a deflection off the heel of the covering Ellis and dipped narrowly wide of the post with Dickinson beaten

Despite having the better of the openings in the second half, the Pitmen fell behind for the first time in the tie just after the hour mark as their aerial failings cost them dearly once again. Dunning's cross caught the Hednesford ball watching yet again allowing Marc Smith to beat Gilmartin with a glancing header as he arrived unmarked in the six-yard box

The Pitmen pushed forward in search of an immediate equaliser, with Dickinson equal to Wayne Dyer's effort on sixty-six minutes as he fed off an Arnolin ball to fire in a shot from twenty yards out

Dyer made another lung-bursting run into the area four minutes later but hit a tired-looking shot straight at Dickinson as he got on the end of a fine threaded pass from Nagington

It seems that this season that the Pitmen just don't learn their lessons, even after two costly lessons today alone, as they nearly conceded a third goal in identical terms to the first two Guiseley goals as Hanson's free header from a Wilson cross flew narrowly wide on seventy-two minutes. This ignorance towards an unaddressed issue will be one of the reasons why Starbuck will not remain as manager for much longer if he continues to pass this off

Substitute Dovey fired wide from a good position inside the Guiseley penalty area on seventy-six minutes after the impressive Arnolin had played him in through the channels

Nagington did well to cut in from the flank on eighty-one minutes but was off-target with his shot across goal that was set up on his wrong foot, although Dyer almost managed to get a toe to the ball as it shot across goal

Dyer had the Pitmen's best chance to grab a replay with four minutes remaining, but scuffed his shot straight at Dickinson after getting himself into a great position inside the Guiseley penalty are to receive a Wayne Dyer pass

Indeed, Guiseley could have added to their tally on eighty-nine minutes as Hanson's hold-up play took Robinson out of play and allowed Rob Pell to take the ball on, only for the substitute to fire wide of goal with only Gilmartin to beat


The Trophy 2004 winners are out of the competition well before the turn of the year once again and must now concentrate on improving ton their poor league position with no cup run to add to the coffers in 2007-2008. They travel to Witton Albion next weekend, who are in a rich vein of goalscoring form with a 5-2 win over Stocksbridge Park Steels to add to consecutive 6-1 wins over Ashton United and Whitby Town in the last fortnight

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Adams, Brisco, W. Dyer, Marshall ©, Robinson, Brown (Dovey 57), Arnolin, R. Dyer, Hanna, Nagington      Subs Unused: Simms, Wells, Sanders

Guiseley: Dickinson, Swift, Kay, Wilford, Ellis, Sturdy, Krief (Denton 75), Dunning, Hanson, Smith (Pell 67), Wilson      Subs Unused: Henry, Tiani, Hay

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