5.11.2011

F.A. Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round 

Hednesford Town

Matlock Town

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Jay Denny

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Matlock Town (A) 8.11.11

Hednesford and Matlock must do it all again on Wednesday night after the Pitmen failed to find a way through the visitor's defence in a frustrating second half for Rob Smith's side

Smith made a handful of changes to the side that had beaten Whitby Town last Saturday, taking into account the wear and tear on some of his players after many had played the whole 120 minutes of Tuesday night's Birmingham Senior cup game against Walsall. Chris Shaw was dropped to the bench, with Darren Campion moving into the left back role. Elliott Durrell came back into the side after a starring role in the 6-5 in over the Saddlers. Also returning was defender Cheyenne Dunkley, who had served his suspension following his red card against Corby. Marvin Robinson's goalscoring exploits against Walsall also earned him a starting place at the expense of Nick Wellecomme

The tone for the game was set early on, as Matlock set their stall out with two banks of four in front of goalkeeper Jon Kennedy, making them a difficult side to break down from deep. There was also a dark undertone to the game throughout, as both sides were guilty of poor challenges in a bid to get ahead. Indeed, Chris Clements had to receive treatment in just the second minute after a heavy challenge in midfield

It was the away side that had the first attempt at goal, with Gareth Davies bringing out the best in Dan Crane on three minutes. Davies' shot from twenty-five yards was tipped over by Crane, at full stretch to turn the ball away to his right

Matlock's Ben Algar continued Matlock's good start on twelve minutes, getting the better of Darren Campion down the left-hand side before lifting his shot high over the crossbar

Gary Hay buzzed around the well-organised Matlock defence with typical aplomb and thought he had earned the Pitmen a penalty on sixteen minutes when he took a trip just inside the area, but the referee saw the clash as accidental and waved away any protests

Durrell's return to full fitness has been gathering pace for some weeks now, with the playmaker looking more like his old self in recent games. His skill and balance saw him whip in a dangerous cross from the right midway through the half, just evading the clutches of Robinson, making a run towards goal at the far post

Six minutes later, the Pitmen had a strong shout for a penalty when Robinson appeared to be clipped in the area after getting on the end of a Chris Clements ball. The referee, perfectly positioned, was unimpressed and waved play on

Kyle Haynes, who had made a couple of barnstorming runs from the right-hand side, fired high and wide when presented with a shot on the half-hour mark, wasting a good build-up involving Jay Denny and Clements\

A Matlock free kick on thirty-three minutes was powerfully struck towards goal by James Lukic, but Crane was equal to the shot and held the drive confidently

Robinson's burly frame and nuisance value caused Matlock all sorts of problems on thirty-nine minutes, as he forced his way through two challenges to get on the end of a Campion ball in. After the ball squirmed away from him as he attempted to bring the ball down with his chest, his attempt to challenge Kennedy saw the Matlock keeper crumble in a heap. Replays suggested the keeper made the most of the challenge, as Robinson looked to have made minimal contact. Robinson was booked by the referee for his actions, much to the disgust of the Hednesford supporters behind the goal who felt Kennedy had made the most of the situation

As half time approached, Durrell went closest to opening the scoring for the Pitmen as he picked up Ben Jevons' ball before advancing on goal and firing in a ferocious angled shot that Kennedy did well to turn away at his near post

The final act of the half saw Steve Warne get the better of Campion down the left-hand side, with Crane doing well to smother the Matlock man's cross-cum-shot

The second period started well for the Pitmen, as they made a storming start to the half. Three successive corner kicks pushed Matlock back into their own penalty area. Pedro Monteiro went closest to scoring from the second corner, looping a header towards goal but denied by a goal-line clearance from Matlock

A patient build-up involving six players on fifty-one minutes finally set Hay up for a shot, but his effort from twelve yards out was high and wide of goal and ended up amongst the Hednesford supporters in the Heath Hayes terrace

It was to be Hay's last involvement in the game, as on the hour mark he was replaced by Wellecomme up front

In a rare foray forward from Matlock towards the Hednesford goal, the ball fell to Kris Bowler, who looked to find his way past Haynes down the Matlock left. As he tried to step past the Pitmen's number two, he tumbled under a challenge from Haynes, with the Matlock fans screaming for a penalty. The referee saw differently and booked the player for diving. Having been booked in the first half, Bowler was shown the red card and was sent off

Mark Danks was immediately introduced in favour of Jevons, as the Pitmen changed their formation to add a more attacking threat to the team that was now playing against ten men

Matlock too, changed their formation to counter the loss of a man, and with two banks of four sitting deep in their half, it made the Pitmen's task arguably harder, not easier

The fallout from Bowler's red card continued for the next few minutes, with the situation boiling over when Matlock assistant manager Nick Buxton was sent to the stands after one too many words with the officials

Another Robinson-Kennedy clash saw the Matlock keeper again hit the deck a little too easily for the Hednesford supporters, with more treatment needed for the keeper despite minimal contact

Danks was looking to make another impact after his goalscoring appearance last week against Whitby, and his deep cross on seventy-five minutes was met by the head of Robinson, who lopped a header onto the roof of the net

Within a minute, Wellecomme had forced Kennedy into a smart save low down after picking up Durrell's pass on the edge of the area

With seven minutes remaining Matlock substitute Nathan Joynes could have snatched an undeserved win for the Gladiators, as he was left unmarked to head a corner towards goal. However, he got underneath the ball and headed narrowly over the crossbar from six yards out

The Pitmen launched a final push in the last two minutes, with Wellecomme again testing Kennedy's reflexes after he deflected Danks's shot towards goal

Matlock had long since settled for a replay, highlighted as much when they won a late corner kick and, rather than cross the ball, stayed in the corner to kill time. The Pitmen managed to break clear, and a foul on Clements presented the Pitmen with a last-ditch attempt from a free-kick twenty yards out

The two sides will meet at Causeway Lane on Tuesday night in the replay, with the draw for the next round taking place before this on Monday to give the the teams motivation as to the identity of their potential opponents in the next round if successful in the replay

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Campion ©, Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Jevons (Danks 65), Clements, Robinson , Hay (Wellecomme 60), Durrell        Subs Unused: Gomes, Shaw, Bailey

Matlock Town: Kennedy, Harcourt, Radford, King, Yates, Lukic ©, Bowler   (64), Warne (Bettney 76), Holmes (Joynes 80), Davies , Algar,      Subs Unused: Nightingale, Witcombe, Buxton

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