21.10.2006

F.A. Trophy 1st Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Marshall (45), Pedro (72)

Halesowen Town

Knight (45), Lewis (64) (penalty)

(1) 2

(1) 2

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Ryan Young

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Halesowen Town (A) 24.10.06

Hednesford and local rivals Halesowen Town will have to do it all over again on Tuesday night after playing out an entertaining tie in front of a healthy crowd at Keys Park this afternoon in today's F.A. Trophy 1st qualifying round tie

Manager Phil Starbuck was forced into making one change to his side from the one that had started the 1-1 draw at Mossley last weekend as former skipper Danny Jellicoe unavailable, allowing winger Phil Hadland to return to the starting line-up. With five substitutes available for the F.A. Trophy, several of the club's youth team players were promoted to the bench to ensure Starbuck had five players to pick from

 

Southern Premier League Yeltz made the short trip up the M5 to Keys Park off the back of a 2-1 defeat in the third qualifying round of the F.A. Cup to King's Lynn last weekend, with manager Paul Holleran electing to make just the one changes for today's game in defence as Niki Preston came back in for Stuart Pierpoint. Due to the local nature of the clash, there were several players with previous ties to the Pitmen in the Halesowen ranks, with the Yeltz naming ex-Pitmen Lee Williams, Paul Szewczyk and Nick Amos in their starting XI and including Grant Beckett, Mark Gayle and club legend Chris Brindley amongst their substitutes

On a sunny afternoon, both sides showed plenty of attacking instinct in the first quarter of the game. Halesowen winger Simon Forsdick sent over a teasing cross in the sixth minute that was flicked on by Matt Lewis and into the direction of Szewczyk, only for Chris White to clear the danger in good time

At the other end, Mario Pedro's dancing feet got him away from Dave Haywood's challenge as he entered the corner of the Halesowen penalty area in the tenth minute. However, the Portuguese took a touch too many as he tried to jink his way past Gavin Knight came across to clear the ball before Pedro could get his shot away

 

Darren Alexander was his usual busy self, holding the ball up well with his back to goal and bringing the likes of Sheppard and Hadland into the game. He did well to get the better of Knight on fourteen minutes, getting goal-side of the Halesowen defender to turn a low Hadland cross just wide of goal

Danny Woodhall in the Halesowen goal was equal to an effort from Ross Dyer three minutes later after the Yeltz had failed to effectively clear a Ross Adams free-kick, eventually dropping to Dyer on the edge of the Halesowen penalty area to fire at goal

 

Alexander saw another effort blocked by Haywood on twenty minutes as he twisted and turned on a Pedro through ball just inside the Halesowen penalty area

 

The Pitmen went even closer just three minutes later as Tom Marshall's firmly-struck free-kick from twenty-five yards out struck the post before coming back into play. Close from the young defender

This was followed by an instant response from the away side, who themselves hit the woodwork on twenty-eight minutes as Williams' well-hit shot was tipped into the crossbar by Ryan Young's fingertips to hand Halesowen a corner kick

The Pitmen seemed content to allow Halesowen to have plenty of the ball and look to catch them on the counter-attack in what was is a role-reversal of traditional cup ties. A quick break from Hadland on thirty-two minutes saw him win a free-kick by the corner flag, which Sheppard whipped in to find Marshall at the far post. However, the defender's firm header was well off-target and sailed into the Heath Hayes terrace

Four minutes later, Williams played in a fine ball for Lewis, who in turn slipped the ball to strike partner Szewczyk, only for a combination of Adams and Young to smuggle the ball away from the striker before he could get his shot away

Amos drilled a shot well wide of Young's goal on forty minutes for the Yeltz before Pedro was wasteful from an excellent position down the left as he beat two players before overrunning the ball rather than crossing for Dyer 

The real drama was still to come at the end of the first-half, however, as a competitive game sparked into life with two quickfire goals In the final minute of the half. A hotly disputed corner was awarded to the away side, despite the assistant on the Wimblebury side flagging for a goal kick. Williams took the corner kick and picked out Knight, who rose to head home his first goal for the club with a far-post header past Young

 

Just as the Yeltz looked to be going in with their noses in front, the Pitmen responded with what was to prove to be the last kick of the half. A floated cross from the left by Terry Henshaw was headed back across goal by Alexander to find Marshall, who prodded the ball home from close range through a forest of bodies

The second period started in a busy fashion for Hednesford physio Don Drakeley as he was called onto the pitch to tend to both Marshall and White after the pair had accidentally clashed heads challenging for a high ball. Amazingly, referee Mr Radford allowed play to continue despite this, and Young was forced into a fine diving save to deny Szewczyk from close-range, injuring himself in the process as well. He was treated by the Halesowen physio whilst Drakely was dealing with Marshall and White

 Szewczyk was denied by the long legs of the patched-up Marshall three minutes later as he escaped the attentions of Adams but dithered on his shot and allowed Marshall to come across and make a block tackle

 

The Yeltz striker was guilty of a terrible miss just three minutes later as Rob Warner's cross was missed by Lewis but ran kindly to Szewczyk, who somehow blazed over the crossbar from close-range when it looked easier to score

Marshall was the first player to have his name taken by Mr Radford on fifty-eight minutes as he sent Szewczyk sprawling just outside the Hednesford penalty area. Williams took the resultant free-kick but found his former team-mate Young equal to his curling shot

Two minutes later, neat intricate play from the hosts saw White, Haldand and Sheppard all involved to play Dyer into space on the edge of the Halesowen penalty area. The young striker turned past Haywood but drove his shot wide of Woodhall's right-hand post from eighteen yards out

Sheppard went close to giving the hosts the lead on sixty-three minutes with a well-struck free-kick that beat Woodhall but came back off the post before being cleared

 

A minute later, good wing play from Alex Cowley saw him break into the Hednesford penalty area and looked to cross for Lewis, only for the hand of Iain Screaton to divert the ball away from danger. Mr Radford awarded the Yeltz a spot-kick, which Lewis sidefooted past Young from twelve yards out and regain the lead for the visitors

 Back came the hosts, and Hadland was within a matter of centimetres away from equalising for the Pitmen on sixty-six minutes as he was unable to turn Pedro's cross home at the far post after arriving late

Haywood was booked for a silly foul on Pedro in seventy minutes, resulting in a Hednesford free-kick that Sheppard clipped to the far post where Alexander headed over the crossbar, under pressure from Knight

 

The Pitmen levelled the game once more two minutes later as another spell of pressure brought about a long throw from Screaton, whose ball in bounced twice before finding Pedro, who poked the ball home past Woodhall after a scramble in the six-yard box

The home side sensed a winner and a way of avoiding a trip to the Grove on Tuesday night with Sheppard once again going close with a free-kick on seventy-five minutes, but his effort just dropped wide of goal from twenty yards out after Preston had needlessly fouled Alexander

The game became stretched in the last ten minutes, with both sides having chances to seal their route into the next round; a moment of high controversy came with eight minutes left as Woodhall raced out of his penalty area to clear a ball forwards ahead of Dyer, only for the keeper to take Dyer out without getting to the ball. Most of the 613-strong crowd, including the away supporters, suspected that a red card was about to be presented to Woodhall, with veteran Gayle even sent out to warm up by Holleran as Mr Radford deliberated his decision. Yet, to the shock of many, Woodhall was only shown a yellow card for what appeared to have been a blatant body check on the Hednesford striker


Lewis could, and probably have should have, won it for the Yeltz with three minutes remaining as a superb slide-rule pass from Williams caught the Hednesford defence on its heels, only for Lewis to somehow scuff his shot wide of goal with only Young to beat

In added time, Screaton's long throw was met by Alexander, who tried to steer the ball into the path of Dyer but saw Preston beat the Hednesford number ten to the cross and clear at his near post

It had been a highly entertaining and evenly-matched contest between the old rivals, who could have no complaints about the result with a replay being a fair outcome. The two sides will try again at the Grove in Tuesday night looking to progress to the next round of this season's competition

Hednesford Town: Young, Adams, Henshaw, White ©, Marshall , Screaton, Pedro, Sheppard, Alexander, Dyer, Hadland      Subs Unused: Brown, Meakin-Richards, Ellis, Dudley, Farmer

Halesowen Town: Woodhall , Warner, Haywood , Preston, Knight, Williams ©, Cowley, Lewis, Szewczyk (Dowdall 79), Amos (Beckett 23), Forsdick       Subs Unused: Cooper, Brindley, Gayle

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