1.11.2008

F.A. Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round

Stamford

Cotton (14), (24), (90)

Hednesford Town

Draper (7), (34), Durrell (10), Dyer (89)

(2) 3

(3) 4

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Ross Draper

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Worksop Town (H) 8.11.08

Hednesford marched into the third qualifying round of this season's F.A. Trophy after an exciting encounter at UniBond Division One side Stamford this afternoon

 

Manager Dean Edwards, buoyed by a run of six straight wins, made one alteration to the side that started Tuesday's win over Cammell Laird with skipper Ross Draper promoted from the bench following his suspension at Ilkeston; Mark Briggs was the man to miss out as a result, joining the substitutes

Step four Stamford had made a great start to the season and were viewed as a similar banana skin as F.A. Cup victors Atherstone Town by some supporters ahead of play today, particularly after they recorded a confident 3-0 win over Hednesford's league rivals Kendal Town in the previous round two weeks ago. In Danny Cotton, they had a striker on red-hot form, topping the step four scoring charts so far this season

Man of the match on Tuesday night, Elliott Durrell, wasted no time in stamping his authority on this game, hitting a long-range shot that was heading for the top corner of the net until it hit Ross Dyer en route, knocking the wind out of the young striker

Once again, the Pitmen benefited from a swift start, as they scored once again inside the first ten minutes. Anthony Maguire headed down a Tyrone Barnett ball, finding Draper close in on goal, who knocked the ball home

The away side had their tails up and continued to press home their advantage. Their next attack produced another goal, with Durrell once again on the scoresheet. Tyrone Barnett got his head onto a Chad Sheppard corner, nodding the ball into the path of Durrell, who had an easy task to score from close range

The Pitmen were dominant and could have gone further in front on twelve minutes. Sam Hall picked up a pass from Draper before sending over a cross that was cleared by Stamford captain Gray. The ball found its way back to Hall, who hit a great shot towards goal that Stamford keeper Martin Davies turned over his bar

Despite the pressure at the Stamford end, it was the home side that grabbed a lifeline on fourteen minutes. Top scorer Cotton picked the ball up just inside the Pitmen's half and hit what looked to be a speculative shot towards goal. The ball was hit with such power and accuracy that keeper Stuart Brock could not get to it low down, with the ball nestling in the bottom corner of the net

After all the pressure the Pitmen had piled onto the hosts in the opening quarter, they suddenly found themselves on level terms again on twenty-four minutes. Phil Stebbing avoided a number of challenges from the Hednesford defence to play in Cotton, who fired past Brock for his second of the afternoon

The Pitmen appeared to have been stung by this double whammy from Cotton and restored their lead just after the half-hour mark. His ball to Hall started it all off, with the right-back taking the ball from halfway to the edge of the Stamford penalty area. His cross was met by the onrushing Draper, who beat Davies with a fine first-time shot

This seemed to settle the Pitmen down, as they reverted back to form for the rest of the first half. Durrell tested Davies's reflexes with an angled drive that he did well to hang on to

Tyrone Barnett had been quieter than he had been in recent games up to this point, but still offered a threat to Stamford by getting a shot in that was just wide of the post

Stamford had looked a very different outfit that the Pitmen had easily beat twice in last season's UniBond Premier League, condemning the Daniels to relegation to step four in May. They pushed the Pitmen back in the second half as they looked to snatch an equaliser

Jamie Clarke really should have put the Daniels on level terms on the hour mark; his header from inside the six-yard box somehow failed to test Brock as he headed over the bar

Cotton was a constant threat to the Pitmen's defenders, underlining his reputation as one of the most potent danger men at UniBond Division One level. Brock was forced into a diving save to deny him with fifteen minutes remaining as he threatened to break clear of the Pitmen's defence

Durrell was still being his usual busy self, despite the lack of openings for the Pitmen in the second period. He managed to get another one of those long-range shots that flew wide of goal

Back came Stamford as the game entered the final ten minutes. Maguire's foul allowed Stamford to take a free-kick wide on their right, with Shaun Pearson heading wide from the resultant kick

That was to be Maguire's final contribution of the day, as he was substituted with four minutes remaining. Adam Burley came on to add his experience to see the game out

The Pitmen thought they had clinched the win with a minute left, after Chad Sheppard's run down the flank saw him beat three players. His cross found Ross Dyer just inside the area, with the striker firing confidently past Davies to give the Pitmen their fourth goal for the second game running

In what had been a fantastic advert for non-league football, there was still time for another Stamford goal in added time. Cotton grabbed his hat-trick goal with another tremendous long-range effort that beat Brock all ends up

Two nervy minutes of added time followed, with Stamford throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the Pitmen late on, but it was too little, too late as the Pitmen progressed to the next round where Blue Square North Hyde United lie in wait at Ewen Fields. Before then, it is a brief return to the bread and butter of the UniBond Premier League as Worksop Town make the trip to Keys Park next weekend as the Pitmen look to extend their lead at the top of the table 

Stamford: Davies, Watson, White, Sheehan (Taylor 86), Pearson, Oswin (Steadman 80), Cotton, Gray, Clarke (Cunnington 71), Stebbings, Kirk       Subs Unused: Burkett, Whitby

Hednesford Town: Brock, Hall, Maguire (Burley 86), Gomes, Harvey, Marshall, Durrell, Barnett, Dyer, Draper ©    Subs Unused: Styche, Stamps, Briggs, Platt