F.A. Cup 1st Round


Jackman (9), (57), I. Cambridge (50), Nightingale (85)

Hednesford Town

(1) 4

(0) 0



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Richard Brush



Hucknall Town (H) 7.11.05

The Pitmen crashed out of the F.A. Cup at the first round stage this afternoon as Chris Brindley's patched-up side are handed a sound beating by Conference South high-flyers Histon at the Glassworld Stadium

Brindley's preparation for the game had been severely hampered by injuries to key members of his team, as goalkeeper Tommy Whittle, skipper Lee Barrow and midfielder Jamie Barrett were all ruled out due to injury. This saw Brindley bring in former Coventry City goalkeeper Richard Brush from local rivals Stafford Rangers as cover for Whittle on loan, with the young goalkeeper coming straight into the side as one of two changes; Barrow was replaced by top scorer Paul McMahon, which saw a major re-jig of the side that had drawn at Worksop Town last week - Steve Anthrobus was deployed as an emergency centre-back alongside Richard Teesdale, allowing McMahon to play up front alongside Andy Bell. Steve Brannan played in the centre of midfield and Lee Williams lined up down the right flank

Histon - champions of the Southern Premier League last season and currently sitting in fourth place in Conference South this term - were in the midst of a mammoth run of home games, having played their last five games at home due to the quirks of both the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy draws. Steve Fallon's side had been beaten by 3-2 by Hayes in their previous Conference South game, with Fallon electing to make two changes to his side for today's big cup tie as Roscoe Hipperson and Ian Cambridge replaced Colin Vowden and Neil Kennedy

Roared on by a 1,000-plus crowd, Histon made a good start to the game and should have taken an early lead in the fifth minute as Leon Gutzmore was brought down by Adams just outside the Hednesford penalty area, prompting Adie Cambridge to fire in a free-kick from twenty yards out that flew inches over Brush's crossbar


 It came as no surprise that the Stutes took the lead in the ninth minute as a period of pressure from the hosts saw a free-kick from Robbie Nightingale curl the ball into the path of defender Steve Jackman, whose initial header at goal was well saved by Brush. The ball dropped kindly to Jackman once more, with the defender turning the ball home at the second attempt with a simple tap-in

Good play from Nightingale in the thirteenth minute saw the creative midfield man sidestep a challenge from Brannan and play Ian Cambridge into space down the left. The forward got goal side of Adams but dragged his shot beyond Brush's post from fifteen yards out

Four minutes later, Brush made another fine stop, this time to deny the dangerous Gutzmore after the striker had been played through on goal by a neat pass from skipper Neil Andrews

The Pitmen were solidly second best during the opening quarter of the game, looking every inch the patched-up side as they chased Histon around the park in the first twenty-five minutes. They did have a chance to level matters in the seventeenth minute as a rare break from the away side saw Bell break through the Histon offside trap to get on the end of a Williams pass but blazed his shot over the crossbar with only goalkeeper Lance Key to beat

Back came the hosts and Key's long ball forwards on twenty-two minutes was flicked on by Nightingale and into the path of Adie Cambridge, whose first-time curling shot was claimed by Brush on his goal line

A good run from Roscoe Hipperson down the left saw him skip past Williams and feed Andrews on twenty-seven minutes; the skipper took a touch and crossed for Ian Cambridge, whose header lacked direction and sailed over the crossbar from eight yards out

On thirty-two minutes, Gutzmore made a run down the right flank and clipped the ball into the feet of Nightingale on the edge of the penalty area, whose shot took a deflection off Teesdale and dropped wide of the target

Anthrobus came to his side's rescue four minutes later as he headed over his own crossbar to deny Jackman a certain goal after Nightingale's free-kick was headed goalwards by the defender once more

Another Nightingale free-kick on forty minutes was flicked on by Andrews and into the path of Ian Cambridge, but the ball came at him a little too quickly and his sliced his effort wide of the far post from ten yards out

Three minutes before the interval, the hosts should have doubled their advantage as Ian Cambridge escaped the attentions of Mark Branch down the right and crossed for Gutzmore, whose diving header cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches

The Pitmen had done well to limit the damage at 1-0 at the half-time break, although the home side had looked a threat with every attack and would have been confident of completing the job in the second half

Histon stretched their lead with their first attack of the second half on fifty minutes as Gutzmore drifted out to the right-wing to pick up Nightingale's pass and crossed for Ian Cambridge, who made a run into the penalty area unchallenged to head past Brush from six yards out

In response to falling two goals behind, Brindley elected to bring himself onto the pitch to shore up his leaky defence as he replaced Brannan; this saw a re-jig of the formation once more as the visitors went to a 5-3-2 formation

The hosts remained rampant however and attacked in waves against a hesitant and disorganised Hednesford defence; on fifty-three minutes, Nightingale and Adie Cambridge combined well to play Ian Cambridge in on goal, but the former Cambridge City man dragged his low snapshot wide of goal with only Brush to beat

Brush pushed away another Gutzmore effort three minutes later, getting down to his left to turn the forward's curling shot from the right-hand corner of the penalty area away for a corner kick

A minute later, Histon put the game beyond the Pitmen's reach with a killer third goal from Jackman; once again, the visitors failed to deal with a Nightingale corner kick as the midfield man found the head of the defender once more, who had the simple task of heading home from close-range

In a bid to stem the tide of Histon pressure, the Pitmen made another defensive substitution just before the hour mark as young centre-back Tom Marshall was handed his debut for the Pitmen as he replaced the out-of-his-depth Anthrobus

Nightingale was running the show for the hosts and was once again involved through the centre of the park on sixty-four minutes as he played a defence-splitting pass beyond the reach of Brindley and into the path of Guztmore, who shot over the crossbar with only Branch to beat

Midway through the second period, the Pitmen made a rare foray into the Histon penalty area as Rob Heath threaded a pass through the centre of the Histon defence and into the path of the onrushing McMahon, who turned the ball past Key from ten yards out. The striker's joy was short-lived, however, as referee Mr Proctor-Green disallowed the goal following an offside flag against McMahon in the build-up

Histon went close to a fourth goal on seventy-one minutes as Brush made another fingertip stop to deny Ian Cambridge once more, turning the striker's shot away from goal after he had broken through the flimsy Hednesford offside trap

Stutes substitute Nat Knight-Percival went close to making an immediate impact just three minutes after coming on as he made a mazy run past three tackles before driving his shot over the crossbar from eighteen yards out

Two minutes later, Hipperson made another strong run forwards down the left and crossed for Andrews, whose volley was to prove way off target from twelve yards out

The Pitmen were handed a possible glimmer of light nine minutes before the end as they were awarded a penalty kick; Branch's cross bounced up and struck the hand of Erkan Okay as he looked to clear the ball. Mr Proctor-Green had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and giving Belkl the chance to reduce the deficit from twelve yards out; however, Bell's well-struck kick saw Key guess correctly and turn the ball away with a good save

To add further insult to injury, Histon added a fourth goal to their tally with five minutes of the game remaining as Andrews launched a long throw into the Hednesford penalty area, bouncing twice as the Pitmen failed to clear their line and allowed man of the match Nightingale to turn the loose ball home from six yards out. A poor goal to concede at such a late stage of the game

There could have been a fifth goal for the home side in the final minute as Brush denied substitute Louie Farringdon with a smothering stop, seemingly injuring himself in the process as he limped off the pitch at the full-time whistle. With Whittle already ruled out for the next game, any injury to his replacement will be of concern to Brindley and Anthrobus with only untried youth team goalkeepers Alex Molloy and Lloyd Ransome available to deputise. A return to league duty on Monday night sees Hucknall Town visit Keys Park for the first time since the F.A. Cup meeting between the sides three years ago

Histon: Key, Haniver, Okay, Hipperson, Jackman, Barker, A. Cambridge, Nightingale , Andrews ©, Gutzmore (Farrington 78), I. Cambridge (Knight-Percival 72)       Subs Unused: Hulyer, Goddard, Vowden

Hednesford Town: Brush, Brannan ▆ (Brindley 52), Branch, Adams, Teesdale, Williams ©, McMahon, Heath, Anthrobus (T. Marshall 59), Bell, Hunter      Subs Unused: Beckett, Dyer, Biddle