12.9.2009

F.A. Cup 1st Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Barnett (71)

Pegasus Juniors

Gwynne (31), Mortlock (34), (85), Hyde (87)

(0) 1

(2) 4

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

244

Ludovic Quistin

W D W L L L D L

Evesham United (H) 22.9.09

The pressure on manager Dean Edwards reached fever pitch this afternoon as Hellenic League minnows Pegasus Juniors dumped the Pitmen out of the F.A. Cup at the first hurdle with a dominant performance that left Hednesford supporters venting their anger at the management at the final whistle

 

Edwards had been boosted before the game with the news that left-back Ludovic Quistin had agreed to return to Keys Park for a third spell at the club, slotting straight in at left-back in place of Aaron Gibson. Cedric Abraham retained his place in defence after an impressive return last week, but there was no place for youngster Ben Bailey, who dropped to the bench in place of club captain Richard Walker, who was available again after suspension

Hereford-based Pegasus Juniors had already overcome two rounds of this season's competition to set up today's tie, beating Willenhall Town after a replay in the final preliminary round to add to a win over Ellesmere Rangers back in early August

Looking to avoid an upset that would rank amongst the biggest of the round, the Pitmen started brightly and fashioned a number of good opportunities in the first fifteen minutes. Elliott Durrell, standing in for the injured Tony Dinning at set-pieces, was a busy man with the ball at his feet, sending over three corners in succession, plus a free-kick whipped into the far post, just over the head of the onrushing Ross Dyer

Hednesford were looking to catch their lower league opponents on the break with a number of quick breakaways, but a linesman's flag denied Durrell before he could pull the trigger. Tyrone Barnett was also pulled back by a late flag as it looked as though a goal was imminent for the hosts

Pegasus, for their part, were making a good fist of it, defending resolutely and keeping an eye on the dangerous Durrell, who was at the heart of everything going forward for the Pitmen. The little playmaker came closest to breaking the deadlock on twenty minutes, firing narrowly over the bar from just outside the area after Sam Aiston had drifted past three Pegasus players in a mazy run from his own half to the edge of the Pegasus box

The home side's frustration at not being able to turn any of these good chances into goals was seized upon by the away side, who grew in confidence and started to put the Pitmen's rearguard under pressure. And sure enough, the leaky back line conceded almost immediately on the half-hour mark. Poor marking allowed Pegasus to slice through the three-man unit, with Simon Gwynne given time and space to collect Lee Ferneyhough's ball and slot past Gavin Ward from close range

If that had not shaken the Pitmen and their supporters, then another good move from Pegasus three minutes later most certainly did. Chris Mortlock fired home with a fine effort from just inside the area to put the minnows into dreamland, and immediately start the calls for Edwards' head from disgruntled Hednesford fans

Hednesford's players had lost all faith in their ability at this stage in the game, with misplaced passes a feature of their play towards the break. As half time approached, the in-form Tyrone Barnett attempted a reply or the Pitmen, heading narrowly wide of the far post after getting on the end of a Quistin cross on forty-two minutes

Mortlock was presented with a great opportunity to really put the tie to bed right on half time, racing onto a through ball that Quistin failed to deal with, but got his shot all wrong and fired wide of Ward's near post

After what was no doubt an ear-bashing from Edwards, the Pitmen emerged for the second half focused on getting themselves out of the mess they had created. The hapless Nick Amos, who had been woefully off the pace in the first half, was replaced by Justin Nisbett to add extra presence up front

Pegasus were immediately put under pressure at the start of the second half, and spent long periods of the next twenty minutes inside their own half. An early effort from Durrell was beaten away by Pegasus keeper Stuart Turpin, into the path of the onrushing Ross Dyer. Unfortunately for Dyer, the ball dropped nicely for Mark Smith, who hammered the ball to safety before the striker could get to the ball. Was it to be one of 'those days'?

Hednesford continued to crank up the pressure, and skipper Walker almost made a goalscoring return to the side, heading inches over after getting on the end of Durrell's flighted corner kick on fifty-five minutes

Durrell was starting to influence the game all over the pitch, and he could have reduced the deficit on the hour mark, cleverly beating his man before firing into the side netting at the near post, with Turpin scrambling across his goal to cover the post

Nisbett followed that up a minute later with a drilled effort from the penalty spot that was well saved by Turpin, turning the ball away for a corner kick after firmly palming the ball past his post

Despite all of the defending they were required to do, Pegasus still offered an attacking threat on the counter, with Mortlock almost picking up another error as Walker, Sean Platt and Abraham almost made a real mess of a simple sequence of passing along the edge of the penalty area, resulting in the ball being punted out of play - much to the derision of the now-vocal Hednesford supporters

Back came the Pitmen, and Turpin made a tremendous double save on sixty-six minutes to deny both Barnett and Durrell with saves low down to his left

Finally, on seventy-one minutes, the home side's pressure told with Barnett grabbing a lifeline for Hednesford. A free-kick to the Pitmen was whipped in by Durrell, causing confusion in the ranks for Pegasus. The ball eventually dropped to Barnett, who was hovering near the edge of the area, who lofted the ball into the net for his second goal in three games

The Pitmen sensed an equaliser, but Turpin was not about to let them back into the game, turning away Barnett's shot on seventy-four minutes, closely followed by a great stop to deny man of the match Quistin, whose rasping angled drive looked to be heading into the net

Durrell could only watch as his effort through a crowd of players was hacked off the line by a desperate Pegasus boot with ten minutes remaining. Dyer followed this up with a header at the far post that was agonisingly inches too high, after Turpin had made his first and only mistake of the afternoon, flapping at Platt's cross from the right-hand side

Quistin was again denied by more Turpin heroics with seven minutes left, as the Guadeloupe left-back made a storming run into the area to get on the end of Aiston's ball, but watched as Turpin brilliantly turned his shot away for a corner

As the Pitmen pressed, looking for an equaliser to take the game into a replay, they left huge holes in the defence with Pegasus taking full advantage of this to wrap up the game with five minutes remaining. Mortlock raced onto a through ball unchallenged, allowing him to steady himself before crashing the ball past the exposed Ward to make it three

Just to add further embarrassment to Edwards and his team, Pegasus added a fourth goal two minutes later. Substitute Cory Hyde, who had only been on the pitch a matter of moments, beat Ward to a through ball before cheekily lobbing him from the edge of the area, despite Walker's best efforts to clear the ball on the line

For Pegasus, it was the greatest result in their history, and they can now look forward to a money-spinning trip to the New Buck Head and a tie with AFC Telford. For the Pitmen, a sorry, sorry scene at the end, with the players and officials trudging off to a chorus of loud jeers from a disgruntled home crowd. The pressure is now on Edwards to either do the honourable thing and step down or produce a significant response in their next home game against Evesham United next Tuesday 

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Quistin, Walker ©, Abraham, Amos (Nisbett 45), Durrell, Palmer,  Barnett, Dyer, Aiston       Subs Unused: Gibson, Bandurak, Bailey, Lycett, Flynn

Pegasus Juniors: Turpin, Mowen, Symonds, Aldrich, Smith, Cuss, Price, Robbins, Mortlock, Ferneyhough (Hyde 77), Gwynne (Jones 86).     Subs Unused: Day, Powell, Davies

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