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F.A. Cup 1st Qualifying Round 

Redditch United

Hednesford Town

Woolfe (41), (55), Durrell (62)

(0) 0

(1) 3



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Dan Crane


Chorley (A) 15.9.12

Hednesford put themselves into the hat for the second qualifying round of this season's F.A. Cup with a dominant performance at Evo-Stik Southern Premier League Redditch this afternoon

Having rested several players for the midweek win over Eastwood Town, Pitmen gaffer Rob Smith brought his established names back into the fold for their first cup game of the season. John Disney replaced Alex Melbourne at right-back, with Dave MacPherson returning to the side in midfield, ahead of Phil Clarke. Neil Harvey was also restored to the side, in place of Michael Lennon. On the bench, former Tamworth youngster Luke Shearer was one of seven nominated substitutes allowed in an F.A. Cup game

Several former Hednesford players lined up against their former employers in the Redditch line-up, with former Hednesford favourite Mark Danks leading the line for the Reds up front. Dave Bridgwater played in midfield, alongside former Pitmen left-back Liam McDonald, whilst Redditch player/assistant manager Asa Charlton - another former Hednesford left-back - started in defence

It was Danks who made the first inroads into the Hednesford defence on three minutes, beating MacPherson out on the left before firing wide of goal with a cross-cum-shot

Hednesford's response on eight minutes came through Harvey, as he broke away down right before cutting inside; his shot was well saved by young Redditch keeper Niall Cooper, who also denied Sean O'Connor a simple header home by plucking the ball out of the air to claim Harvey's rebound

A typical cup tie saw the game ebb and flow from end to end in the opening quarter, as Redditch attacked again through Danks, this time down the right on thirteen minutes. He turned Darren Campion before firing across goal, where Dan Crane was waiting to palm the ball away

An almighty scramble in the Redditch penalty area saw O'Connor attempt to divert Woolfe's deep corner goalwards, but headed into the ground and allowed the ball to be cleared off the line

Redditch midfielder Connor Deards got the better of Ben Bailey on eighteen minutes, running directly at goal before slicing his shot wide of Crane's goal

Two minutes later, a long clearance from Crane caught the Redditch defence napping, allowing Jamey Osbourne to slip in on goal. As Cooper came out, Osborne tried to lob the ball over him but failed to get enough purchase on the ball and allowed Cooper to claim

Crane was again on his mettle to deny Redditch on the half-hour mark, as McDonald's long-range free-kick was turned away from goal by a full stretch Crane

A fantastic cross from Durrell - following patient build-up work involving Woolfe, Harvey and Osborne - was headed wide of goal by O'Connor a minute later, miscuing his effort and heading across the face of Cooper

Three minutes later, a superb shot from Woolfe, after a poor header from Charlton, was well saved by Cooper at his near post; he followed this up with a parry to deny Harvey a simple tap in on the rebound

As the half drew to a close, the Pitmen grabbed the all-important opening goal courtesy of the impressive Woolfe. MacPherson's cross from the right was missed by Harvey, but sat up neatly for Woolfe, who slammed the ball past Cooper

If the Pitmen had just shaded the first half, there was no doubt about who had the better of the second, as Hednesford dominated large chunks of the game as they looked to earn their place in the next round

Five minutes into the half, a superb free-kick from Durrell was aimed at the head of O'Connor, with the big man only inches away from connecting and heading into the empty net

The Pitmen's pressure paid off on fifty-five minutes, as Woolfe rescued a cross-field ball from Campion before playing a one-two with Harvey. His first-time shot caught Cooper out and found the bottom corner of the net

Smith made his first change of the afternoon just before the hour mark, as O'Connor was replaced by Michael Lennon up front

On sixty-two minutes, a swerving free-kick from Durrell out on the left touchline drifted over the head of Cooper, dropping in the far corner of the net to complete the scoring for the afternoon

Redditch continued to plug away, with McDonald offering sporadic threat going forward down the left. However, an excellent showing from Francino Francis and Bailey - developing a real understanding - kept their Southern League opponents at arm's length

Further substitutions followed for the Pitmen on sixty-nine minutes, as Sam Barnes made his return to first-team action in place of MacPherson. Clarke was also brought on in place of Durrell

One man still hunting for goals was Woolfe, who was keen to grab his first hat-trick for the club. He just failed to turn Campion's cross home at the far post on seventy-five minutes, closely followed by a long-range free-kick that was deflected off the wall

Another Woolfe free-kick with ten minutes remaining saw the winger lift his left-footed shot way over the crossbar

It could have been four-nil as the game drew to a close, as Osborne's dipping free-kick was headed wide of goal by Francis from six yards out

Redditch manager Simon Redhead had promised that this game would not be a repeat of last season's cakewalk by the Pitmen at the same stage of the competition, but will have been disappointed to watch his side struggle even more than last term. For Smith and his team, they extend their unbeaten run to seven games. Chorley away next Saturday offers a stern test to the Pitmen's title aspirations, as they look to continue their encouraging early-season form

Redditch United: Cooper, Stringfellow, Charlton ©, Midworth, Flannegen, Bridgwater, Cresswell, Richards, Danks (Agbonlahor 63), Deards (Wilding 63), McDonald       Subs Unused: Clarke, Quaynor

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion, Bailey, Francis, MacPherson © (Barnes 69), Osborne, Durrell (Clarke 69), Harvey, O’Connor (Lennon 59), Woolfe      Subs Unused: Melbourne, Rey, Dunleavy, Shearer

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