F.A. Trophy 1st Round

Hednesford Town

Lake (34), Francis (53), Lancashire (64) (penalty), Brown (83), Shakespeare (85)

Racing Club Warwick

(1) 5

(0) 0



Current Form

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Damien Charie



Newport (Isle of Wight) (H) 10.11.01

The Pitmen move into the second round of this season's F.A. Trophy after dispatching of Dr. Martens Western side Racing Club Warwick at Keys Park this afternoon, although the eventual scoreline was a little flattering to the home side after a late goal flurry

Hednesford returned to the relative comfort of Keys Park off the back of a hugely frustrating afternoon at bottom of the league Salisbury City last weekend, having a number of chances to beat their lowly opponents but somehow allowing the Lilywhites to claim their first win of the new season. Manager Kenny Hibbitt was hit with yet more injury worries to his squad - a seemingly ever-present problem for the squad this term - as Dean Craven, and Paul Bagshaw both joined long-term absentee Mark Haran on the touchline. In came the experienced Wayne Simpson and teenager Ashley Williams to replace the injured pair, in a move that saw Andy Brownrigg and Stuart Lake moved further forwards into midfield roles

Step three Warwick made their first-ever trip to Keys Park to face the Pitmen in the first competitive game between the sides for the first time since 1993 off the back of a fine 3-1 victory over Swindon Supermarine last weekend to leave the Racers sitting in fourteenth place in the Dr. Martens Western table. There were no changes Billy Hollywood's side that had started against Swindon as the men in red looked to give the Pitmen similar problems as they had faced against Midland Alliance side Stafford Town in the F.A. Cup earlier in the season

It was a cool autumnal afternoon at Keys Park, with both sides both electing to wear long sleeves for the game as the first flourishes of winter started to set in. Hednesford were to find it difficult to break down a resolute Warwick defence in the opening stages of the game, lining up with eight men behind the ball for much of the first period in an attempt to frustrate the hosts 

It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game in the third minute as they won a free kick just outside the Pitmen's penalty area. Striker Lee Hughes tried his luck with a swerving kick that Mark Gayle watched over the crossbar and into the Heath Hayes terrace

Neil Davis had the Pitmen's first chance of the game in the eleventh minute of a fairly uneventful first half as Lake's forward pass found the Pitmen's top scorer, only for his low shot to be saved well by Matt Tucker in the Warwick goal

An enterprising run from Stewart Airdrie four minutes later saw him skip past Colin Wells and cross for Graham Lancashire, only for the former Rochdale man to lose his footing at the crucial moment and the chance was gone


Tucker watched a Lake free-kick over his crossbar on eighteen minutes as the midfielder tried his luck from fully twenty-five yards out with an inswinging effort

The hosts were dealt another injury blow on twenty-one minutes as Davis pulled up holding the back of his leg and was replaced by Kevin Francis after limping off the pitch

The pressure continued from the Pitmen with Brownrigg finding space to the right of the Warwick penalty area and trying his luck with an angled drive on twenty-four minutes that drifted wide of the near post

Four minutes later, Lake's flicked header was cleared by Wells from his own goal line after a Richard Lucas corner kick had found the long-serving Lake unmarked in the Warwick six-yard box

The Pitmen finally found a way through in the thirty-third minute of the game as they ended Warwick's brave resistance with the opening goal of the game; Damien Charie swung in a fine corner kick that was met full-on by the head of Lake, who powerfully guided the ball beyond Tucker and into the corner of the net to get the hosts on their way

A timely challenge from Darren Massingham denied Lancashire a second goal for the hosts three minutes later, sliding in to turn the ball away from the striker after Charie had played an incisive pass through to his more experienced colleague

Lake continued to be the Pitmen's biggest threat at goal, going close twice more towards the end of the first half as he looked to double his, and the Pitmen's advantage. On forty-two minutes Airdrie rolled a free-kick into his path, only for Lake to rifle his effort over the crossbar from twenty yards out

In the first minute of added time, a Lucas cross was chested into the path of Lake once more by Francis, only for the hosts' goalscorer to drive his effort wide of Tucker's left-hand post

It had been a dominant first-half from Hibbitt's side, although the amount of wasted chances from the hosts will have irked their new manager as they should have had the tie safe and out of sight after a frustrating forty-five minutes in front of goal

With Francis on and giving the Pitmen a more direct route to goal, they pushed forwards in the early stages of the second half and looked to finish the job quickly. Charie did well to turn past two challenges and cross from the right flank on forty-nine minutes but saw Francis bundle the ball wide of goal


However, Francis did get his name on the scoresheet on fifty-three minutes as Airdrie did brilliantly to ghost past two challenges and cross for the big man, who had the simple task of nodding past Tucker from close range to make it 2-0

More good play in midfield on fifty-seven minutes saw Charie and Lake exchange passes before playing Airdrie in once more down the right-wing, only for Airdrie to try his luck from an impossible angle with a wild shot over the crossbar from ten yards out

Lancashire was handed the chance to grab yet another goal at Keys Park on sixty-four minutes as the referee awarded the hosts a penalty kick following a foul by Wells on Lancashire as he entered the Warwick penalty area. Lancashire confidently fired past Tucker, driving the ball home high to the keeper's  right-hand side to put the game out of Warwick's reach

Hughes drove a shot wide of the visitors on seventy minutes in a rare foray into the Hednesford penalty area from Massingham's long ball forwards, but it was the hosts that continued to press home their significant advantage with more chances to add to the scoreline

On seventy-three minutes, Charie's free-kick out by the corner flag was met by Francis, whose goalbound effort was somehow smuggled away from goal by a combination of Tucker and some last-ditch defending

Charie supplied Francis again two minutes later, this time with a clever through ball into the feet of the big man only for the veteran to fire just wide of the base of Tucker's post

Hibbitt made a double change with thirteen minutes remaining to avoid any more injuries to his already-ravaged squad and keep players fresh by replacing Lancashire with teenager Leon Brown and the impressive Airdrie with Robbie Meacham. This saw a switch for Charie from the centre of the pitch to the right-wing to accommodate the introduction of central midfielder Meacham

The Pitmen grabbed a fourth goal of the afternoon on eighty-three minutes as Brown grabbed his first goal of the season with his first meaningful touch of the ball; Francis was the man to set up his new striker partner, playing a delightful angled ball into the path of the willing Brown before the 17-year-old showing a cool head to lob Tucker and find the far corner of the net from an angle

Two minutes later, the hosts put a gloss finish on their performance with a fifth goal of the game and a fifth different goalscorer of the game in Adam Shakespeare. A corner from Meacham was flicked goalwards by Lake but hacked off the line and partially clear to Shakespeare, who was hovering on the edge of the penalty area. The youngster showed great composure to take a touch before lifting the ball back over the head of Tucker and his defenders to find the corner of the net with a fine individual finish. A fine goal from the young centre-back

It could have been more for the hosts late on as Francis got his angles all wrong and fired wide from a Lucas cross, followed in the final minute by a long-range effort from Williams, whose rising shot was saved by an alert Tucker on his goal line

In added time, one more attack from the Pitmen saw Brown link up with Charie down the right before Charie's deep cross was headed over the crossbar by Francis at the far post

A dominant display from the home side that sees them safely into the second round of the F.A. Trophy over limited but spirited opponents who came with a game plan to frustrate and attempt to earn themselves a replay by keeping the game tight, all to no avail. The growing injury list will be of concern to Hibbitt, who continues to assess the quality and character of the squad he inherited from Paul Raynor two weeks ago. He may be forced back into the transfer market for reinforcements if injuries keep ruling some of his key players out of games for long spells in the season, with the injury to Davis a worrying one just as the striker has come into good form. Next weekend sees the Pitmen at home again, facing another side making their first trip to Keys Park in the form of Newport (Isle of Wight)

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Williams, Lucas ©, Simpson, Shakespeare, Lake, Charie, Brownrigg, Davis (Francis 21), Lancashire (Brown 77), Airdrie (Meacham 77)    Subs Unused: Griffiths, Jenkins

Racing Club Warwick: Tucker, Llewellyn, Jackson, Wells, Marlow, Massingham, Wiseman, Elvin, Green (Sawyer 55), Hughes, Washington      Subs Unused:     Hodson, Taylor