F.A. Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Richards (56) (penalty), Flanagan (75) (penalty)

Peterborough Sports

Nicholson (14), M. Jones (42), (76)

(0) 2

(2) 3



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Chay Tilt



AFC Rushden & Diamonds (H) 6.11.21

The Pitmen are edged out of today's F.A. trophy tie by visitors Peterborough Sports by the odd goal in five as their fellow Southern Premier League Central side knock out the 2004 winners on their own turf

Last week's 4-2 win at St. Ives Town had moved the Pitmen up into fifth place in the league table ahead of today's departure from league duty and this third qualifying round tie. Manager Keenen Meakin-Richards - still without the injured Ryan Pryce, Sam Griffiths, Callam Mendez-Jones, Jed Davies and George Cater - elected to stick with the same XI that started the St. Ives game, with Josh Endall and Aram Soleman making their home debuts for the club. Regular goalkeeper Andy Wycherley had departed the club in midweek to join Northern Premier League side Nantwich Town after having his deal with the club cancelled due to gross misconduct

Sports made the journey to Hednesford off the back of a fine 4-0 win over Bromsgrove Sporting last weekend, ending a two-game losing streak after defeats to Coalville Town and King's Lynn Town. Manager Jimmy Dean made two changes to the side that had started against Sporting as Marcus Kelly and Mark Jones came into the side in place of Michael Gash and Jim Stevenson respectively

The Keys Park pitch was starting to look threadbare after some wear and tear on it over the past few weeks, added to by an early deluge of water after a rainy Saturday morning had called for a precautionary pitch inspection. The hosts had an excellent early chance to open the scoring as Chay Tilt picked the ball up out wide in the second minute and crossed for Andre Brown, who got goal side of Ryan Fryatt at the near post but shinned his effort high and wide from six yards out, under pressure from goalkeeper Lewis Moat

Josh McCammon had Peterborough's first real sight at goal in the seventh minute of the tie as he headed a Jordan Nicholson cross onto the crossbar, only for the play to be pulled back for an earlier offside against the former Alfreton Town man in the build-up

Jono Brown's first involvement in the game came in the thirteenth minute as he fielded a long-range effort from Dion Sembie-Ferris after his initial clearance had dropped to Kelly, who played the ball into the forward's path

Brown was left red-faced just a minute later, however, as Sports took the lead through more dreadful defending from the hosts; Johnny Herd's long throw was flicked on by Fryatt and palmed away from goal by the goalkeeper, whose clearance lacked any distance and dropped to Nicholson at the far post, who drilled the rebound into the roof of the net from six yards out

The Pitmen had so far struggled to get either Tilt of Shaquille Master into the game as Sports squeezed the midfield and forced the two players inside to deal with the away side's aggressive, direct game. Master did have a sight at goal in the eighteenth minute of the game as he stepped inside of Isiah Bazeley's challenge down the left flank but fired over with his angled shot from twenty yards out

A neat passage of play from the Pitmen midway through the first half opened up the Peterborough defence as Soleman linked up well with Carter Lycett down the left; the left-back picked the run of Todd Parker out with a fine threaded pass, only for the midfielder to drag his low shot just wide of Moat's far post from fifteen yards out


 A minute later, Lewis Ison's long throw from the left was cleared as far as Parker, whose lofted ball back into the penalty area dropped to new boy Endall. His scuffed shot at goal was cleared away from danger by Fryatt, who reacted quickest to deny Andre Brown was would surely have been a tap-in from six yards out

The Pitmen won a free-kick just outside the Peterborough penalty area after Ison's second throw-in was picked up by Soleman, whose pass was handled by Dan Lawlor twenty yards from goal. Master took the resultant free-kick but his low shot around the Sports wall was easily fielded by Moat

Master was involved again twenty-eight minutes, forcing skipper Richard Jones into bringing him down and earning the first yellow card of the afternoon from referee Mr Davis. Lycett elected to take the free-kick but drove his initial shot into the wall before picking up the rebound and forcing Moat into a low save down to his right

Peterborough's direct approach to the game almost handed them a second goal on twenty-nine minutes as Richard Jones's long punt forwards found Sembie-Ferris in behind the Pitmen's retreating defence. The winger tried his luck with a lob over Jono Brown that the stopper managed to get his fingertips to, only for the ball to drop back to the Peterborough man, whose lay-off to McCammon saw the striker's goalbound shot cleared off the line by Ison

Sports won a free-kick out on the right on thirty-one minutes which was whipped in towards the far post by Kelly, only for the ball to skip past three men in blue shirts at the far post and drift out of play when the ball just required the faintest of touches to be turned home

McCammon was the next player to be shown a yellow card on thirty-six minutes as he was rightly booked for a crude challenge on Richards in midfield that left the Hednesford skipper requiring attention


 Tilt did well to take the ball past Herd on thirty-nine minutes and get himself into a shooting position, but the winger got caught in two minds and ended up sending over a cross-cum-shot that drifted well wide of the far post as Master made a later run into the penalty area to meet the ball


However, the Pitmen's questionable defending came back into sharp focus once more with three minutes of the half remaining as they gifted the visitors a second goal of the afternoon. The hosts passed the ball around at the back and worked it out to Endall, whose lazy pass towards Richards was seized upon by Mark Jones, who took the ball past both Richards and Ison before slotting the ball past Jono Brown from ten yards out. A very, very poor goal to concede and one that could easily have been avoided

It was nearly game over at the break as Sports went close from a corner kick in the final minute of the first half with Nicholson's deep cross to the far post being headed narrowly over the crossbar by Fryatt from six yards out

McCammon can count himself very lucky not to have been shown a second yellow card right on half-time as he committed another foul on Richards to bring the midfielder down in full flight, but somehow escaped with only a talking-to from Mr Davis when he would have had no complaints about a card being produced

Despite a bright first-half showing, Hednesford's familiar flaws at the back had cost them dearly against a direct and aggressive Peterborough side who had not had to work particularly hard for their two-goal lead at the break

Meakin-Richards sent his team out early for the second half with a flea in their ear and got a response from his side as they started the second period well. Parker picked up the game's third yellow card of the afternoon as he was booked just three minutes after the restart for hauling down McCammon just outside the Hednesford penalty area. The resultant free-kick from Kelly flew over Jono Brown's crossbar as it dipped over the five-man Hednesford wall

Lycett looked to make more progress down the flank than he had in the first half and did well to pick up Master's pass on the overlap on fifty minutes, crossing dangerously into the box but seeing his outswinging ball drop onto the roof of Moat's net

Moat had to be alert to deny the Pitmen a goal three minutes later as he tipped away a shot from Master from just inside the Peterborough penalty area following Tilt's cross out on the right that had landed at the winger's feet

The hosts finally made their early pressure tell on fifty-six minutes as they were awarded the first of two penalty kicks in the afternoon; Tilt was played into space down the right flank, taking Bazeley out onto the wing before cutting the ball back to right-back Wes Atkinson, who had made a rare move into the Sports third of the pitch. The former West Bromwich man picked the pocket of Lawlor and made his way into the area before being clipped by the Sports midfield man right on the line, sending Atkinson sprawling. Mr Davis had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and awarding the hosts a penalty kick

Richards - who missed a penalty at St. Ives last week - fronted up once more to take the resultant spot-kick and was successful on this occasion, sending Moat the wrong way to reduce the deficit

Looking to capitalise on their goal, the hosts made a double substitution just before the hour mark as Andre Landell replaced Soleman and Riley O'Sullivan was handed his home debut as he came on in place of Andre Brown up front

Richards' game was brought to a halt on sixty-five minutes as he was forced off due to injury and was replaced by Reece Flanagan in midfield, with the former Walsall man also taking the captaincy from Richards

Lawlor had been walking a tightrope for much of the game as he had epitomised Peterborough's overall play - strong, aggressive, occasionally bordering on poor gamesmanship - and was finally shown a yellow card for a totting up of several poor challenges from the player on sixty-eight minutes for taking out Tilt in full flight

A route one piece of play from Peterborough on seventy minutes saw Moat's long punt upfield headed on by Mark Jones and into the path of strike partner McCammon, who showed Endall a clean pair of heels to get past him but drilled his shot from fifteen yards out over the bar

Endall's long-range effort on seventy-three minutes won the Pitmen the first of back-to-back corner kicks, with Peterborough struggling to clear their lines from Lycett's second corner kick into the near post. The ball ended back out on the right flank with Tilt, who laid the ball off to substitute Landell; his deep cross to the far post was aimed at Ison, who was hauled down by Mark Jones as the pair tussled in the six-yard line. Mr Davis was in a good position to see the challenge and awarded the hosts another penalty kick for the foul on Ison

Stand-in skipper Flanagan assumed the spot-kick responsibilities after Richards' departure, spotting the ball and confidently sending Moat the wrong way from twelve yards out to level matters once more

The Pitmen suddenly had their tails up and with only fifteen minutes remaining you felt that they could carry the momentum to the end and find a winner against a Peterborough side that had looked fairly comfortable until the first penalty area. However, the Pitmen's joy at getting themselves back into the game was short-lived as Sports struck again within sixty seconds of the restart; Flanagan fouled substitute Matty Miles and handed Sports a free-kick thirty yards from goal, which Herd foaled into the penalty area. His cross was headed back across goal by Lawlor and into the path of the giant figure of Mark Jones, who had the simple task of nodding past Jono Brown from close range

Back came the Pitmen as they went in search for another equaliser to take the game to penalty kicks, with Master picking up a loose ball thirty yards from goal on eighty minutes and lashing his shot at goal, only for Moat to parry the ball behind for a Hednesford corner kick

Flanagan took the resultant inswinging corner kick and found the head of Ison, only for the former Bristol Rovers defender to head tamely wide under pressure from Mark Jones in the Peterborough six-yard box

Tilt was shown a yellow card for the Pitmen with five minutes to go as he reacted angrily to a foul on him from Herd and pushed the left-back away as the pair squared up, leading to a bout of pushing and shoving from both sets of players and words exchanged between both benches

Two minutes later, Ison also received a caution for the hosts as Mark Jones used his experience well to draw the foul on him from the defender and earn the player the final yellow card of the afternoon

Successive corners in the first of five minutes of added time from the hosts failed to test the resolve of Moat or his defence as Peterborough hung on to move into the draw for the next round of this season's Trophy. The Pitmen had played their part in an entertaining cup tie but were ultimately undone by their oh-so-familiar defensive liabilities as Sports had ruthlessly taken advantage of multiple pieces of sloppy play from the home side over the ninety minutes. The Pitmen can now concentrate on the league from this point on in the season and play host to AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park next weekend, having been knocked out of both the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy before the end of October

Hednesford Town: J. Brown, Atkinson, Lycett, Endall, Ison , Richards © (Flanagan 65), Tilt , Parker , A. Brown (O'Sullivan 59), Soleman (Landell 59), Master     Subs Unused: Rowley, Williams

Peterborough Sports: Moat, Bazeley, Herd, Fryatt, R. Jones © , Lawlor , Sembie-Ferris, Kelly (Miles 63), M. Jones, McCammon Nicholson (Warner-Eley 84)      Subs Unused: Gash, McGowan, Santos, Elsom


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