F.A. Trophy 2nd Round

Lancaster City

Sullivan (54)

Hednesford Town

Anthrobus (57)

(0) 1

(0) 1




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Ryan Young



Lancaster City (H) 2.12.03

The two sides will do it all again at Keys Park on Tuesday night after today's F.A. Trophy second round tie ends all square between the Pitmen and their UniBond Premier League hosts Lancaster City

Hednesford made their second long journey of the week to Lancashire off the back of a midweek trip to Somerset to face Weston-Super-Mare, coming away with a narrow 3-2 defeat in the rain at Woodspring Park to make it successive defeats in the Dr Martens Premier League. Manager Barry Powell was forced into one change to the side that had lost in midweek as Chris Gray was again cup-tied for the competition having played for Sutton Coldfield in a previous round. He was replaced by Ashley Dodd at left-back in a move that saw Les Hines pushed further forward to add his supply of crosses from the wing to the strikers

The Dolly Blues had been in similarly inconsistent form so far in the Northern Premier League, having drawn at home to Blyth Spartans last weekend to make it back-to-back games without a win for Phil Wilson's side. They had beaten Ashton United after a replay in the previous round to set up today's game, as Wilson stuck with the same side that had started last week's game against Blyth looking to get back to winning ways and make their way into the third round in the process

In front of a meagre crowd, Lancaster made the better start to the game with Neil Prince presented with two good chances in the first six minutes; on three minutes, the forward got the better of Darren Simkin as the pair chased down a pass from Farrell Kilbane but got his angles all wrong and lifted his shot into the open terrace behind the goal. Three minutes later, a curling long-range effort from the same player took a slight nick off Alex Gibson's heel and drifted inches wide of Ryan Young's right-hand post with the stopper wrong-footed by the deflection

The Pitmen responded from a Hines corner kick six minutes later, with the left-back swinging in a fine cross from the right flank that was headed narrowly over the crossbar from eight yards out as he was challenged by youngster Ryan Elderton

A drab opening quarter of the game saw the two midfields in charge, with Steve Palmer booked for an overly eager challenge on Kilbane on eighteen minutes before Simkin followed his captain into the book three minutes later for tripping Jamie Hughes illegally

A long kick forwards from Lancaster keeper Mark Thornley was allowed to bounce in the Hednesford third on twenty-four minutes after being left by a ball-watching Hednesford defence, culminating in Tony Sullivan picking up the loose ball but lifting his shot over the crossbar

Young's punt out from his own goal found Hines in space down the left on the half-hour mark, who in turn played a ball down the line to Steve Evans. The winger drifted past Neil Uberschar and hung up a cross to the near post that Anthrobus nodded wide of goal from six yards out

Former Blackpool man Phil Clarkson had a great chance to put Lancaster in front on thirty-five minutes as he met Kilbane's corner kick at the near post, but headed a foot or so wide of Young's post

Clarkson was booked for the hosts three minutes later after bringing Danks down just inside the Lancaster half, incurring the wrath of Carl Palmer in the process who took exception to the experienced midfielder's tackle

The best chance of the half for either side fell to Sullivan just a couple of minutes before half-time, as he picked up a pass from Uberschar before manoeuvring the ball onto his right foot and unleashing a powerful shot that Young turned away from goal at full stretch down to his right

It had been an entirely forgettable first half and not one that would be likely to be added to the F.A. Trophy's most memorable games from this term as both sides had essentially cancelled each other out in the first forty-five minutes

Both managers had their say at half time, with Wilson seemingly getting his message across the better of the pair as Lancaster started the half strongly; Sullivan's downward header from Kilbane's free-kick found Prince, whose first-time shot was inches too high as it skipped over Young's crossbar

A mistake by Dodd three minutes later saw him gift the ball to Hughes in a dangerous position, with Hughes side-footing the ball into the path of Clarkson, whose effort whistled past Young's right-hand post

Lancaster's persistence paid off with the opening goal of the afternoon on fifty-four minutes as Prince's long, deep cross from a free-kick on the left-hand side evaded all of the incoming players for both sides, only for Sullivan to arrive late at the far post and nod the ball past Young from close range

The Pitmen shrugged off the disappointment of falling behind to a cheaply given away goal and got themselves back on level terms with their next attack three minutes later. Hines was the ever-reliable supplier from the left flank once again, sending over an inch-perfect cross that was headed home by Anthrobus at the far post, beyond the reach of Thornley

The game was end to end at this stage of the game, as Lancaster went close to going back in front two minutes later as Hughes found a pocket of space and rocketed a shot off the base of the left-hand post from twelve yards out. The ball rebounded to Sullivan after the retreating Hednesford defence failed to clear their lines, who shot just wide with a scuffed follow-up shot

Danks tested Thornley on sixty-four minutes as he collected a long ball from Young and turned his shot goalwards, only to be denied by a fine parry from the Lancaster keeper at his near post

A dynamic piece of play down the left from the Pitmen four minutes later saw Simkin and Danks link up well to play Dodd in on goal, only for Thornley to make another fine save low down to his right

The two sides continued to trade chances as Lancaster went close to taking the lead again on seventy-three minutes as Steve Jones's opportunistic strike was cleared off the line by the covering Hines following a corner kick from Kilbane that was not cleared by a hesitant Hednesford defence

Back came the Pitmen, with Steve Evans forcing the over-worked Thornley into another good save on seventy-seven minutes before Kilbane's quickly taken free-kick was turned into the side-netting by Prince a minute later

Danks was still looking for that elusive goal to get him back on the goal trail, taking a Steve Evans pass through on goal on eighty-four minutes before firing across Thornley and goalwards, only for Paul Sparrow to get himself into position and clear the shot off the line

With the minutes running out, Lancaster finished the game strongly as Hughes drilled a shot wide from a Clarkson through ball, followed in the second minute of added time by a shot from Steve Jones that was well-saved by man of the match Young, holding the rising shot and smothering the ball on the ground to take the sting out of the Lancaster attack

The second half had been a far more entertaining encounter from both sides as they threw caution to the wind to produce a decent cup encounter that could not separate the two sides. Lancaster will now make the long trip down the M6 on Tuesday night to face the Pitmen again in a replay as the sides meet again to look to move into the third round of this season's competition

Lancaster City: Thornley, Uberschar, Scott, Kilbane, Elderton, Sparrow, Clarkson , Jones, Sullivan, Hughes, Prince       Subs Unused: Mercer, Newby, Barnes, Robertson, Yates 

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson, Hines, Dodd, Brindley, Simkin , C. Palmer, S. Palmer © , Anthrobus, Danks, S. Evans      Subs Unused: Lamey, Maguire, Charie, P. Evans