F.A. Trophy 1st Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Glover (79)

Mickleover Sports

(0) 1

(0) 0



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Sam Oji


Grantham Town (H) 31.10.17

The Pitmen will be in the hat in Monday's draw for the second qualifying round of the F.A. Trophy after they inched past league rivals Mickleover this afternoon at Keys Park, courtesy of a Danny Glover goal late on in the game


The Pitmen were currently protecting their first really stable run of form all season, having only lost one of the previous eight games in all competitions. They welcomed new signings James Fitzgibbon, Ross Haig and Alfie Crooks to the squad after the trio had been involved in the team's 2-1 win over Tamworth in the Birmingham Senior Cup in midweek, with news breaking as supporters turned up to the ground of a further signing in the form of AJ George on loan from Mansfield Town. Lewis Collins had returned to Mansfield at the end of his loan, whilst Tyler Weir had departed the club earlier in the week and re-signed for Worcester City, after admitting difficulties in travelling from Ledbury for games. This saw Alex Melbourne return to the side in one of four changes; Reece King was ruled out due to being ineligible and was replaced by Sam Oji, whilst George came straight into the side to replace the departed Collins. There was also a change up front, with Joey Butlin preferred to Glover at number nine


Mickleover came into the game off the back of an impressive 3-0 win over newly-promoted Farsley Celtic, lifting the Derby-based side up into seventeenth place in the table. John McGrath's men were looking to repeat the same miserable defeat on the Pitmen from September, when they hammered Rob Smith's side 5-0 at the Don Amott Arena in arguably the Pitmen's worst display of the campaign


The Pitmen pushed forwards early on in the game with the in-form Jordan Graham heavily involved in the opening exchanges. Neat interplay involving Graham and his Mansfield colleague George saw the two link up on five minutes, with George skying his shot high over the crossbar from eighteen yards out


Lewis King in the Mickleover goal was alert to the danger the Pitmen possess from set-pieces on ten minutes, making a good save to hold Jim Mutton's goalbound header following a Joe Fitzpatrick corner kick


At the other end, James Wren was called into action for the first time on fourteen minutes to make a fine save to deny Evan Garnett a goal with a flying stop to turn the ball away for a corner


Great link-up play between George and Graham opened up the Mickleover defence once more on twenty-three minutes, with George forcing King into a low stop to his left. From the resultant corner, the excellent Oji headed just wide of goal with a glancing effort as he reached Tom Thorley's cross


The Pitmen continued to create openings, although their best chance to score appeared to be from a set-piece, through a Fitzpatrick corner or a long Ben Bailey throw


A Darren Campion free kick created an opening for Butlin on thirty-five minutes as he swung in a deep, inswinging ball from the right that the burly striker fired high over the crossbar and into the car park


Mickleover were struggling to create any openings of note, with Garnett's effort earlier in the half their only shot on goal in a limited half from the visitors. A late flurry of corner kicks in the first half were well dealt with by the Hednesford defence, with a combination of Oji, Bailey and Wren dealing with the threat with ease


Mickleover created their best chance of the game with the first attack of the second half, as a neat piece of interplay opened up the Hednesford defence, presenting Garnett with a great chance to give Sports the lead. With the goal at his mercy, the Mickleover striker lifted his shot over the crossbar, with Wren racing out of his goal to narrow the angle


Back came the Pitmen, unsurprisingly from a free kick, with Jim Mutton diving in to head a deep Fitzpatrick ball straight into the hands of King from eight yards out


Fitzpatrick was the first player to enter the referee's notebook on the hour mark, after a cynical foul in midfield on Jake Scott that warranted a yellow card for the former Mansfield Town youngster


Wren was called upon to deny Garnett once more a minute later, making another fine save low down to his left to turn Garnett's driven shot away for a corner kick


With the crowd calling for changes to the misfiring Hednesford attack, Smith made a bold double change on sixty-six minutes, bringing on Glover for the disappointing Butlin and James Lawrie in place of the tiring George


This double change brought instant rewards, as the experience of Glover and Lawrie saw the Pitmen push forwards and make the ball stick for the first time in the game. Lawrie tried his luck on seventy minutes, hitting a rising shot from the edge of the penalty area that just cleared the crossbar


A deep free kick from Fitzpatrick found man of the match Oji lurking at the far post on seventy-seven minutes, but the big centre-back could only clip a half-chance wide of the post as he stretched to reach the ball


The Pitmen finally grabbed the goal that mattered with eleven minutes remaining, as Bailey tried his luck from long range, but only succeeded in firing a shot that was destined to go well wide. Glover, ever the gambler inside the penalty area, stuck his leg out and did brilliantly to divert Bailey's miscued effort the opposite way, wrong-footing King in the Mickleover goal and dipping the shot into the far corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season


Glover was roughly treated by the Mickleover defence as he celebrated his goal, with Sports skipper Tom Burgin taking exception to the celebrations and causing a brawl between both sets of players. After finally restoring peace between the two sides, the referee showed Burgin and Alex Melbourne a yellow card each for their part on the piece


Glover - refreshed after his goal that ended his personal drought - nearly added to his tally and finished the game off for the Pitmen on eighty-five minutes as he drove a slow shot just wide of the left-hand post as the home side tried to press home their advantage


With the game moving into added time, Graham was taken off in preference to fellow young wide player Chekaine Steele as the hosts made their final change of the afternoon


In the final minute of added time Mickleover missed a glorious chance to snatch a replay on Tuesday night, as full back Ben Turner gambled by moving forwards into the Hednesford penalty area to get on the end of a cross, but his goalbound shot lacked power and was turned away from goal by the superb Oji


So, the Pitmen wait until Monday lunchtime to find out who they will face in the next round, safe in the knowledge of earning themselves £3,250 from a job well done against their league rivals. It is also a measure of the progress Smith and Chambers have made with their squad, having reversed the team's fortunes since that 5-0 defeat against the same opposition just a few weeks ago. Another home game comes up quickly for the Pitmen on Tuesday night, with the visit of Grantham Town to Keys Park as they return to league action


Hednesford Town: Wren, Melbourne , Campion, Bailey, Mutton, Oji, Fitzpatrick , Thorley ©, Butlin (Glover 66), Graham (Steele 90), George (Lawrie 66)     Subs Unused: Fitzgibbon, Haig


Mickleover Sports: King, Hickman, Turner, McGrath, Mills, Burgin © , Dales, Scott (Morris 86), Tyrell (Sayoud 74), Garnett, Phillips     Subs Unused: Belgrave, Morrison, Horne

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