12.1.2002

F.A. Trophy 3rd Round

Scarborough

Connell (13), Stamp (90)

Hednesford Town

(1) 2

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

995

Lee Barrow

W L W L W L W D W L

 

Worcester City (H) 19.1.02

The Pitmen depart the F.A. Trophy at the third round stage this afternoon as they are beaten by Nationwide Conference strugglers Scarborough with a goal in each half from the hosts at the McCain Stadium

 

It has been another frustrating two-week spell without a game for the club after another spell of bad weather had postponed two games against Worcester City and Kettering Town since the turn of the year. Manager Kenny Hibbitt was forced into a late change to his side after initially naming an unchanged side from the one that had started the 4-1 win against Moor Green two weeks ago as Neil Davis pulled up with a calf strain in the warm-up. His place was taken by Damien Charie up front alongside Graham Lancashire, which saw fellow teenager Ashley Williams return to the squad as a substitute. Club captain Mark Haran was also named amongst the substitutes after finally recovering from his long-term injury

Scarborough's season had been one of struggle, much like their former Conference rival's down at step two, with the Seadogs currently rock bottom of the Conference at the start of play. A 3-0 win over Barnet two weeks ago had lifted Russell Slade's side back within seven points of safety however, with the home manager making no less than four changes to the side that had started against the Bees; in came Romain Faure, Mark Robinson, Steve Baker, Darren Connell ahead of Richard Dryden, Shaun Rennison, Dene Shields and Mark Patterson

There was still a distinct nip in the air on the East coast with the wind howling in off the North Sea and the temperature hovering around freezing just before kick-off. The blue-clad Pitmen made an assertive start to the game, with Stuart Lake laying down a marker to the Scarborough midfield with two crunching tackles inside the first five minutes to win the ball in the centre circle and halt the Seadogs' progress

The first real opening of the game came in the ninth minute of the game for the visitors as Stewart Airdrie played a delightful ball over the top of the Scarborough defence to find Lancashire, whose attempt at a shot was snuffed out by some timely defending from Paul Sheppard as he headed the loose ball away for a Hednesford corner kick

Despite having the better of the opening exchanges, the Pitmen found themselves a goal down three minutes later as their higher league hosts struck with their first shot in anger; Matt Gardiner made an error of judgement as he was caught ball-watching to allow Karl Rose's long, rangy ball to sail over his head and into the path of Connell, who took a touch before rounding Mark Gayle and slotting home from an angle despite Lee Barrow's best attempts to keep the ball out on the goal line

The goal appeared to calm the home side down, with Scarborough taking control of possession in midfield through Rose, Patterson and Sheppard. Jason Blunt fired narrowly wide of goal for the hosts in the seventeenth minute after picking up a pass from Patterson in a pocket of space just outside the Hednesford penalty area

With twenty minutes on the clock, David Pounder did well to out-muscle Gardiner and drill a low shot just wide of goal from a couple of yards inside the Pitmen's penalty area

Gardiner's indifferent afternoon continued four minutes later as he was shown a yellow card for pulling down Baker a few yards outside the Hednesford penalty area as the pair challenged for a high ball

Barrow did well to come to the Pitmen's rescue on twenty-four minutes, heading away from danger after a corner kick from Pounder was headed goalwards by Sheppard and over the head of Gayle

Three minutes later, a quickly-taken free-kick from the hosts saw Rose clip the ball into the path of Connell, only for a good challenge from Wayne Simpson to snuff out the danger for the away side

Scarborough keeper Andy Woods almost gifted the Pitmen a way back into the game on thirty-four minutes as his dreadful free-kick was scuffed straight onto the head of Charie, who nodded the loose ball into the path of Lancashire. The striker's shot was on target, but a late intervention by Rennison turned the ball away from danger

Scarborough had done well to nullify the Pitmen's wide threat thus far, with Airdrie and Phil Trainer both proving ineffective against the two full-backs who had shown good positional sense to snuff out the threat

 

Russell Dodd followed Gardiner into the book on thirty-nine minutes as he was shown a yellow card for illegally tripping up Baker down the Scarborough left flank

With half-time looming, Scarborough had a good chance to add to their lead as Baker crossed for Rose, whose knock-down was slashed wide of the far post by Connell from eight yards out

Lucas appeared to be struggling with his left leg as the two teams trudged off at half-time and was subsequently replaced at the start of the second period by the returning Haran, who also took the captaincy from Lucas in the process

The Pitmen took the game to their hosts at the start of the second half but looked light up front without the presence of the experienced Davis to trouble the Scarborough defence. Lancashire dragged a shot wide of goal on fifty minutes after good play from Charie, followed two minutes later by Trainer's header from a Barrow cross that was straight into the arms of Woods

Dodd tested the reflexes of Woods on fifty-four minutes as he was played in by Lancashire's reverse pass, only for the Scarborough keeper to make a save down at the feet of the right-back after a strong final touch from the experienced defender

Haran's return to the side saw him produce a fine block to deny Rose just before the hour mark, throwing himself in front of the forward's goalbound shot from fifteen yards out to divert the ball away from Gayle's goal

The Seadogs thought that they had sealed their progress to round four on sixty-six minutes as Gareth Stoker got on the end of Baker's low cross to turn the ball home from close-range, only to be denied a goal as the assistant on the main stand side had deemed Pounder to be offside in the build-up to the chance

Two minutes later, the Pitmen made their second substitution of the afternoon as youngster Leon Brown came on in place of the luckless Trainer down the right flank to play ahead of Dodd

Brown was involved straight away as he played a quick one-two with Lake on seventy minutes and crossed for Lancashire, whose first-time shot was blocked by Robinson from six yards out

Three minutes later, a corner kick from Airdrie was cleared by the Scarborough defence as far as Simpson, whose lofted effort from the edge of the penalty area just cleared the crossbar

The Pitmen continued to press, refusing to accept their fate and went close again to levelling matters on seventy-six minutes as the excellent Barrow - a former Scarborough player nearly ten years ago - headed inches over the crossbar from close-range after getting onto the end of a fine Airdrie corner kick

With time running out, the Pitmen elected to go long in their approach and brought on the big man Kevin Francis in place of Dodd to add significant physical threat to the attack for the final few minutes

However, despite pressing with a succession of free-kicks and corners, the Pitmen were caught out in the final minute of the game as a corner kick from Baker dropped in the Hednesford six-yard box and bounced around before being turned home by substitute Darryn Stamp, who was standing on the penalty spot to fire through a crowd of players

The Pitmen can count themselves a tad unlucky not to have earned themselves a replay against their step one opponents, who had flattered to deceive at times before edging out their Southern Premier League guests. Next weekend sees the Pitmen return to the bread and butter of the league as they look to make it four league games unbeaten against local rivals Worcester City at Keys Park

 

Scarborough: Woods, Jordan, Faure, Stoker, Robinson (Keegan 90), Sheppard, Blunt, Baker, Rose, Connell (Stamp 63), Pounder       Subs Unused: Sherwood, Atkins, Jones

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Dodd ▆ (Francis 86), Lucas © (Haran 45), Simpson, Gardiner Barrow, Lake, Airdrie, Charie, Lancashire, Trainer (Brown 68)   Subs Unused: Williams, Brownrigg

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