6.12.2005

F.A. Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Bell (29)

Moor Green

McPhee (20)

(1) 1

(1) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

254

Ian Wright

L W W D L D L D L L D

 

Vauxhall Motors (H) 10.12.05

After coming to terms with Chris Brindley's shock departure on Monday, the Pitmen earn themselves a replay at Damson Park next Tuesday night after drawing this evening's re-arranged F.A. Trophy tie against local rivals Moor Green

Monday had seen the club announce that player/manager Brindley had left the club off the back of a run of horrendous results during November, leaving the club teetering on the fringes of the relegation zone after six games without a win. Assistant manager Steve Anthrobus was appointed caretaker manager for tonight's game and immediately made changes to his side from the one that had been heavily beaten at Hyde United on Saturday; Adam Jenkins replaced Lewis Solly in goal, whilst Ian Wright was passed fit after recovering from his knock against Kettering Town to replace Richard Teesdale. The final of three changes came up front, with Paul McMahon restored to the side in place of the now-departed Brindley

Moors made their second trip up to Keys Park this season off the back of a 2-1 win over basement side Vauxhall Motors on Saturday, maintaining the Moors' sixteenth place in the table and keeping them safely away from the dogfight below them. Manager Bob Faulkner made one change to his side for tonight's tie as Dave Bridgwater replaced Chris Nurse in midfield

On a bitterly cold early December evening, both sides took their time in getting into the game on a hard and bumpy Keys Park pitch. Attacking the Hednesford end, the hosts forced successive corners out of the Moors in the eighth minute, with Lee Williams floating in a cross from the right and finding the head of Tom Marshall with his second kick, only for Marshall to head over the crossbar from eight yards out

The Moors responded through former Hednesford loanee Phil Trainer three minutes later, skipping past Danny Scheppel just outside the Hednesford penalty area before being forced onto his right foot by Wright before lifting his shot high over the crossbar

Good play from Rob Heath in the fourteenth minute saw the midfielder win the ball from Dave Morrison and drive towards goal, stepping past a challenge from Bridgwater but shooting straight at Burton Albion's loanee goalkeeper Daniel Crane

Former Coventry City man Gary McPhee almost grabbed the lead in the tie for the Moors three minutes later but was guilty of getting his laces underneath the ball from a Darren Middleton square ball and fired over the bar from eighteen yards out

It was McPhee, however, who did break the deadlock for the visitors in the twentieth minute as more dreadful defending from the Pitmen allowed the Scotsman to put Moor Green in front in the tie; a harmless-looking angled ball from Phil Midworth drifted over the head of Tom Marshall and behind Wright, who was caught ball-watching momentarily. McPhee was quickest to react to the ball controlling it well before firing past Jenkins from ten yards out with a well-struck half-volley

The Pitmen rallied and Williams was denied by Crane two minutes later as the Hednesford skipper's curling free-kick was plucked out of the night sky by the former West Brom youngster

Marshall assumed responsibility for the next free-kick on twenty-five minutes after a foul on Scheppel by Bridgwater, lining up a shot dead centre of goal but over twenty-five yards out, striking a firm shot at goal that failed to test Crane

The home side's growing pressure brought about a swift equaliser just before the half-hour mark, as Andy Bell finally ended his recent goal drought with a well-taken leveller. Heath and Colin Hunter brought the ball forwards, with Hunter playing Bell into a pocket of space just outside the Moor Green penalty area. The striker took a touch before unleashing a superb long-range effort that beat Crane at his post and dipped into the corner of the net. A fine strike from Bell and a welcome return to goalscoring form for last season's top scorer

The Pitmen had their tails up and went close to turning the game on its head just three minutes later as Mark Branch's cross from a Hunter lay-off was glanced just wide of the post by McMahon's crouching header ten yards from goal

McMahon was involved again on thirty-five minutes as he scampered away from a mistimed tackle by skipper Lee Collins to reach Hunter's pass but struck his low effort wide of goal as the rock hard pitch took the ball away from goal

Heath went even closer to putting the hosts in front just six minutes before the break as he made an unchallenged run into the Moor Green half before striking a fine shot from a similar range to Bell's goal, only to be denied by the underside of the crossbar as Crane struggled to get near the shot

With half-time approaching, Moor Green had the final chance of note in the first half as Trainer's free-kick was flicked on by Morrison at the near post but saw the ball bounce across the face of Jenkins' goal and out of play before anyone in sky blue could turn the ball home from close-range

It had been a fairly even half between two sides who had struggled for form in recent weeks, with chances at both ends of the pitch in the opening forty-five minutes. The temperature continued to drop at the break, with most of the small crowd electing to retire to the relative warmth of the bar for fifteen minutes. The away side made a change at half time as Junior English replaced Peter Faulds on the right flank

The Moors made a strong start to the second half as English got into the game straight away, making a run at Branch and winning a corner within sixty seconds of the restart. Andy Penny whipped the ball in and found McPhee, who stabbed the ball wide at the far post as he lost his balance trying to get to the cross

On fifty minutes, Hunter's tricky wing play saw him get to the byeline and pull the ball back to Heath, who scuffed his first-time shot well wide of goal from fifteen yards out as Bridgwater closed him down

Excellent defending from Wright saw him snuff out a dangerous Moors move forwards from Darren Middleton on fifty-four minutes, striding across his penalty area to make a timely block on the former Aston Villa man's attempted shot at goal after the rest of the Hednesford defence had stood off him

Jenkins was called upon to make his first meaningful save of the evening just before the hour mark as he got across his goal to tip a low driven shot from McPhee around his post for a corner to the away side

The Pitmen caught Moor Green on the counter-attack down the right on sixty-three minutes as Scheppel got on the end of a Wright pass, taking the ball all the way to the byeline before chipping the ball into the six-yard box; McMahon slid in to challenge Crane but was denied a tap-in by the goalkeeper's smothering save

On sixty-eight minutes, Steve Brannan made his first appearance for the Pitmen in six games as he came on in place of Scheppel with what was to be the home side's only substitution of the evening

With eighteen minutes of the tie remaining, more superb defending from Wright saw him make a last-ditch challenge on McPhee, diving in to head the ball away from the striker to deny him a shot at goal after a clever chipped through ball from English

Bell went closet of anyone on either side to winning the tie on seventy-eight minutes as he nipped in behind a static Moor Green defence to reach Hunter's pass, breaking the flimsy offside trap but pulling his left-footed drive inches wide of Crane's near post

With the game moving into the final ten minutes, Brannan tangled with Morrison in midfield and engaged in a bout of pushing and shoving just in front of the benches. Brannan and Morrison were both ticked off by the referee for their involvement but were spared a yellow card

Wright headed away from danger for the Pitmen three minutes later, making sure the ball stayed away from Collins at the far post as Morrison's free-kick was aimed at the Moors captain

At the other end, Brannan and Ross Adams worked the ball down the right flank two minutes later and crossed for Bell, who missed the ball in the six-yard box. McMahon was caught on his heels, assuming Bell would get to the ball, and allowed the cross to skip past him when he would have had a simple tap-in at the far post

With a couple of minutes remaining and some supporters deciding to make an early exit, Crane earned his side a replay with a superb save to tip Tom Marshall's header over his own crossbar and away for a corner kick after Branch's cross had found his fellow teenager at the far post

Both sides had produced plenty of effort over the ninety minutes but had lacked that killer instinct in front of goal, particularly in the second half, and will meet again at Damson Park next Tuesday night. Before then, the Pitmen have a crucial Conference North game at home to struggling Vauxhall Motors to contend with, whilst Moors play host to Hyde United in the clash of the mid-table teams

Hednesford Town: Jenkins, Adams, Branch, Williams ©, Wright, T. Marshall, Scheppel (Brannan 68), Heath, McMahon, Bell, Hunter     Subs Unused: C. Marshall, Dyer, Harvey, Molloy

Moor Green: Crane, Scott, Midworth, Collins © (Nurse 65), Bridgwater, Penny, Morrison, Middleton (Dowdall 77), Faulds (English 45), McPhee, Trainer      Subs Unused: Petty, Coates