F.A. Trophy 1st Round

Hednesford Town

MacPherson (20)

Solihull Moors

English (31), Bogle (40)

(1) 1

(2) 2



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Elliott Durrell


Ilkeston (H) 27.11.12

The Pitmen exit this season's F.A. Trophy at the first round proper stage, but not after they had given Blue Square Bet North side Solihull a real game at Keys Park this afternoon

Having earned all three points in midweek with a new formation at Matlock Town, manager Rob Smith stuck with the 5-3-2 layout for this afternoon's cup tie, making two changes to the starting line-up; Neil Harvey moved from the substitute's bench to replace Sean O'Connor up front, whilst Dave MacPherson came in in place of Alex Melbourne

Solihull - with former Hednesford favourite Jay Denny in midfield - had struggled in Blue Square North this season, sitting just above the drop zone, and made a nervy start to the game. Hednesford pushed Solihull back into their own half in the opening exchanges. Elliott Durrell was unusually wasteful with three successive corners in the first ten minutes that failed to clear the man at the near post

Denny came to Solihull's rescue on twelve minutes, as neat play from the Pitmen saw the ball played into Harvey. The big striker twisted and turned, but was denied a shot on goal by Denny, who put in a strong, but fair, challenge to clear the ball

Moors keeper Jas Singh did well to keep the ball away from goal on fourteen minutes, claiming a Durrell corner right under his crossbar despite pressure from Harvey and Francino Francis as he back-peddled

Hednesford were playing much the better of the football, winning the battle in midfield as MacPherson and Jamey Osborne snapped at the heels of the Solihull midfield. It was the veteran MacPherson who finally made the home side's pressure tell with the opening goal on twenty minutes. The ball was played to Harvey, who completely miscued his shot towards goal. The rebound rolled kindly into the path of MacPherson, who made a run into the box at the right moment. he managed to get enough on the ball to bundle it home, although Singh made a meal of the shot by fumbling it over the goal line

Three minutes later, Rey could have put clear day between the sides as Osborne's quick feet saw him slip past two challenges and play the ball into the feet of the striker. He dallied as he shaped to shoot, allowing Moors defender Stuart Pierpont to block

There was more last-ditch defending from Moors on twenty-six minutes, as Francis looked to add to his superb strike at Matlock with another well-struck effort, only for skipper Phil Midworth to clear away from danger

Having offered next to nothing going forward to this point, Solihull showed signs of their higher league status with a spell of pressure just before half time that proved to be match-winning. With their first real attempt of the game, they equalised just after the half-hour mark; John Disney allowed Midworth too much time to cross from the right, with Junior English side-footing past Dan Crane from six yards out to level matters

Solihull pushed on after their undeserved equaliser and took the lead just before half time with a peach of a goal. MacPherson lost possession in a midfield scrap, allowing Omar Bogle to steal the ball. His dipping, swerving shot from long range gave Crane no chance and put Moors into the lead for the first time in the game at half time

The rain started to fall incessantly after the break, with the game reflecting the drab conditions in what was a pretty uninspiring second period. Francis missed a great chance to strike back early on in the half as he headed Durrell's corner kick over the bar from four yards out

Solihull responded six minutes later with a powerful shot from Bogle that forced Crane into a smart save low down to his right

The Pitmen's new formation was dismantled on sixty-seven minutes, as Rob Smith and Chris Brindley decided to revert to a 4-3-3  formation as they chased an equaliser. O'Connor came on in place of the disappointing Disney, whilst the tiring MacPherson was taken off in place of Melbourne. This saw Ben Bailey moved to right-back and Melbourne playing in a more withdrawn midfield role

The introduction of the big man O'Connor caused Solihull problems at the back immediately, as the striker's nuisance value from a Durrell corner kick saw him have his shirt tugged by Pierpoint. Despite calls for a penalty kick from the Hednesford players, the referee waved play on

Despite consistent delivery from Durrell, set-pieces were wasted by the Pitmen time and time again in the final quarter of the game as Singh, Pierpoint and Danny Spencer all dealt with the aerial threat of Bailey, Barnes and Francis easily

Arguably the Pitmen's best chance of the game was crafted by Rey with twelve minutes remaining. The striker went on one of his mazy runs, beating three bamboozled defenders before firing straight at Singh from ten yards out

Smith made his final change a minute later, with Lennon coming on in place of Rey to play up alongside O'Connor and Harvey

A frenetic last ten minutes saw the Pitmen pile forward in search of a leveller, but a lack of composure in front of goal cost the home side. Bailey headed yet another Durrell corner goalwards with six minutes left, but a desperate scramble on the line involving Midworth and Singh saw the ball hacked away

Lennon's only real sniff at goal came with three minutes left, as he toe-poked Osborne's through ball wide of Singh's right-hand post as he stretched to reach the ball

With the Pitmen flying high near the top of the Evo-Stik League, some would see this cup exit as a blessing in disguise, allowing Hednesford to put their efforts into their promotion push. They return to league action on Tuesday night when the much-improved Ilkeston visit Keys Park, in what will be a tough test of the Pitmen's credentials

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney (O’Connor 67), Campion ©, Bailey, Barnes, Francis, Osborne, Durrell, Harvey, Rey (Lennon 78), MacPherson (Melbourne 67)      Subs Unused: Bottomer, Hornby

Solihull Moors: Singh, Midworth ©, Langdon, Denny, Pierpoint, Spencer, Knights, Fleet (Blackwood 79), English, Angus (Bennett 79), Bogle (Clark 90)      Subs Unused: Birch, Acton