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F.A. Trophy 1st Round

Hednesford Town

Lita (2), Hartley (19), Obinna Aneabonam (48), (57)


Cowley (67), Vaughan (82)

(2) 4

(0) 2



Current Form

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Stanley Obinna Anaebonam



Leiston (H) 5.11.22

The Pitmen shook off the frustrations of their last three games with a fine attacking display against league rivals Stourbridge this afternoon to move into the second round of this season's F.A. Trophy

Having thrown away several important league points in their last three Southern Premier League Central games, Steve Burr's side came into today's cup tie in determined mood, having signed Stoke City's young defender Luke Redfern on loan from the Potters ahead of today's local derby. The 19-year-old came straight into the side as one of three changes to the side that had started the frustrating 2-2 draw against Barwell in midweek as he replaced club captain Ben Bailey in defence, whilst Luke Rowe came in for Chris Clements and Zac Hartley was passed fit to return at right-back ahead of Joe Cuff

Stourbridge - sitting in eleventh place in the Southern Premier League Central table - had beaten Ilkeston Town 2-0 in midweek to move onto seventeen points for the season so far. Joint managers Leon Broadhurst and Stuart Pierpoint made four changes to their Glassboys' line-up for their trip to Staffordshire as skipper Lee Vaughan, Alex Worley, Callum Gittings and Greg Mills came back in for Chris Knight, Alex Moore, Joe Hull and Darryl Knights respectively

It had been an overcast Saturday morning, with light drizzle falling on the Keys Park pitch earlier on before the clouds started to part and chinks of sunlight started to poke through. The hosts had made a flying start to the Barwell game with a goal inside the first five minutes but made an even swifter impact on this afternoon's game as chief protagonist Leroy Lita struck his twelfth goal of the season inside 100 seconds of the kick-off; a long, searching ball forwards from Lewis Ison spotted Lita on the run, finding the veteran onside and in behind the static Stourbridge defence via a flick-on from Callum Gittings, with the former Swansea City man showing great composure to slide the ball past the advancing Charlie Price in the visitor's goal from eighteen yards out

The hosts continued to press their opponents in the opening stages of the game, looking to pick out Lita and Stanley Obinna Anaebonam at will with long angled balls over the top of the Stourbridge defence. A corner kick from Todd Parker in the seventh minute was whipped into the near post and aimed at the head of Keith Lowe, only for Vaughan to hack the ball clear of danger

Obinna Anaebonam quizzically looked in the direction of referee Mr Lamb three minutes later as he took a tumble in the penalty area after drifting past ex-Hednesford man Tyler Lyttle and cutting inside from the right wing, only to be gestured to his feet by the match official as the game continued

Stourbridge had struggled to get into the game thus far, with Styche showing his aggressive side on thirteen minutes as he picked the pocket of Hednesford debutant Redfern down the right and drove the ball across the penalty area towards strike partner Jason Cowley, only for Lowe to hack the ball clear for a corner kick

Redfern was again culpable after receiving more roughhouse treatment from Styche on fifteen minutes, hauling the striker down twenty yards from goal and handing the Glassboys a free-kick in a dangerous position. Lyttle took the free-kick and swung the ball into the far post, only for it to drift harmlessly over the head of everyone in the six-yard box and safely drop wide of goal

Styche was perhaps lucky to escape an early yellow card two minutes later as he blatantly shoved Redfern in the back as the pair challenged for a ball just inside the Hednesford penalty area, with the Stoke City teenager requiring treatment after falling heavily on the pitch

With nineteen minutes on the clock, the Pitmen found themselves two goals to the good as Hartley struck his first goal for the club in spectacular fashion. Stourbridge failed to clear Lita's pull-back into the box sufficiently, with Parker picking up the scraps and laying the ball off to the former Truro City man in acres of space on the eight. Hartley stepped inside of a challenge from Gittings before striking an unstoppable angled drive beyond the reach of Price from eighteen yards out and found the back of the net via a hefty touch off the far post

Back came the away side, stung into meaningful action after a lax first quarter to the game that had seen them allow the hosts to dominate. Midway through the first half, Vaughan played a one-two with Cowley down the right before whipping in a cross that eventually fell at the feet of the returning Mills, whose toe-poked effort at goal from six yards out was parried away by Tiernan Brooks at his near post

At the other end, Price made an equally good save to deny the mercurial Obinna Anaebonam as Lita's superb close control and pass sent the winger away on goal, outpacing Joel Kettle before driving in a low shot at goal from an angle that the Stourbridge stopper blocked with his legs to cover his near post

Obinna Anaebonam's nuisance value saw him create a chance for himself out of nothing just after the half-hour mark as Parker's long, hopeful punt forwards gave Worley issues as the Norwegian challenged him and won the battle to claim the ball on the right flank. Despite having his shirt pulled on two separate occasions by the former Walsall defender, Obinna Anaebonam showed a great desire to stay on his feet and worked the ball onto his left foot before drilling in a low shot at goal that Kettle cleared off the line

There was more unwelcome anger aimed at Mr Lamb by the frustrated Styche on thirty-four minutes as he was hauled down by Ison thirty yards from goal, with the striker demanding retribution for the foul with a card of some colour for the defender. Mills took the resultant free-kick but drilled his long-range effort wide of Brooks's left-hand post

The Glassboys were forced into a substitution on thirty-nine minutes as Gittings went down inside the Hednesford penalty area and remained on the floor, holding his leg. After a spell of treatment, the ex-Kidderminster Harriers midfielder was helped off by the physio as he was replaced by summer signing from Rushall Olympic Moore

The Pitmen had enjoyed plenty of joy with the early, long ball into space, dragging the ageing Stourbridge defence across the park and constantly out of position. On forty-two minutes, Brooks's long goal kick bounced over the head of Kettle and into the path of Lita, who was deemed to have been in an offside position by the assistant on the Wimblebury side of the pitch and play was pulled back


In added time at the end of the first period, Kettle's clearance from a Hartley cross fell into the path of the industrious Rowe, who lifted his first-time shot high over the crossbar from nearly thirty yards out

For the third game in succession, the Pitmen came off at half-time in an excellent position having been the better of the two sides and held a deserved lead going into the half-time break. Stourbridge had struggled to break down the threep-man Hednesford back line and resorted to some of the less sportsmanlike methods in a bid to get themselves back into contention, with Styche and Vaughan the chief perpetrators. The away side made their second change of the afternoon before the start of the second half as the experienced Chris Knight came on in place of Worley at centre-back alongside Kettle

It was Kettle who was to have the first sight at goal just a minute after the restart as he made a late run into the Hednesford six-yard box to meet a corner kick from Mills, but glanced his header narrowly over the crossbar

Just as they had done in the first period, however, the hosts looked to make a quick start to proceedings and further stretched their lead just two minutes later as Obinna Anaebonam grabbed his maiden Hednesford goal. Rowe, Kyle Bennett and Hartley all linked up to work the ball down the right, with Hartley's low cross deflected into the path of Lita at the far post, who somehow failed to tap the ball home as he clipped the post with his close-range shot. The ball ran kindly to Obinna Aneabonam, who steadied himself and turned the ball back onto his left foot before rifling the ball home past the despairing dive of Price from four yards out

Brooks did well to deny the dangerous Cowley a clear shot at goal on fifty-three minutes as a neat through ball from Moore sent the prolific former Stevenage man away on goal, only for the on-loan stopper to force him wide and deny him space to shoot as Cowley scuffed his shot wide of the target

The rampant Pitmen grabbed themselves a fourth goal on fifty-seven minutes as Obinna Anaebonam doubled his afternoon's tally with another well-taken goal; Ison's free-kick on the halfway line was cleared as far as Rowe, whose neat through ball was helped on by Bennett to Obinna Anaebonam; the winger took a touch just inside the Stourbridge penalty area before dispatching a crisp sidefooted effort beyond Price and into the right-hand corner of the net to send the home fans wild. Surely even they could not throw this seemingly unassailable lead away?

On the hour mark, the Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon as midfield man James McQuilkin came on for Hartley to line up against the side he played every minute of league action for last season before being released in the summer. For Stourbridge, the experienced Knights came on at the same time as he replaced the tiring and ineffective Mills

Adam Livingstone made a rare foray into Stourbridge territory on sixty-three minutes as a neat passage of play from the Pitmen found the Scotsman in space on the left, whose low, driven shot from twenty-five yards out lacked power and was easily fielded by Price

A minute later, Lyttle tried his luck from twenty-five yards out after fellow ex-Hednesford man Reece King laid the ball back to him, only for his rising shot to skip past Brooks's left-hand upright

The visitors pulled a goal back four minutes later as Cowley grabbed Stourbridge a small lifeline; Knights did well to hold off Bennett's challenge before slipping the ball through to the striker, who had made a run into the inside right position. The former Bromsgrove Sporting man showed great composure to turn past Lowe and fire past Brooks at his near post with a smart low finish

Ison looked to restore the Pitmen's four-goal lead from a free-kick, earned after Obinna Anaebonam had been brought down by Kettle to the right-hand side of the penalty area. The former Coventry United man lashed his twenty-yard effort at goal but got his laces underneath the ball and lifted it over the crossbar

A goalmouth scramble in the Hednesford penalty area on seventy-four minutes saw the hosts struggle to clear their lines as Cowley and Styche made their presence felt. Bennett's looped clearance eventually dropped to Vaughan, who lifted his volley high over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area

With fifteen minutes remaining, Obinna Anaebonam was given a standing ovation by the home crowd as he was replaced by Ryan Nesbitt up front for the remainder of the game

The home supporters were not sitting so comfortably on eighty-two minutes, however, as Stourbridge further reduced the deficit to make it 4-2. Styche was handed a free-kick just outside the penalty area after a foul on him fromLowe which he felt was deserving of a card from Mr Lamb and lambasted the official for not cautioning the defender and handing him what he felt was a penalty kick. Styche took the free-kick himself and drilled his shot straight into the Hednesford wall, only for Vaughan to react quickest to the loose ball and turn it home from close-range. Game on perhaps?

Harvey Portman - who had missed the past four games - made his return to the side with five minutes remaining as the hosts looked to pull the shutters down on the game, replacing Bennett and slotting in at left-back which allowed Livingstone to play further forwards

The Glassboys threw the kitchen sink at the Pitmen in the remaining minutes, with Cowley getting on the end of a Styche cross on eighty-seven minutes but miscuing his looping shot on the six-yard line; the ball dropped to Knights, who was put off sufficiently by Brooks that he could only stab his angled shot into the side-netting

Former midfield colleagues McQuilkin and King got themselves into hot water with Mr Lamb on eighty-nine minutes as the pair clashed out on the right-hand touchline and indulged in a bout of pushing and shoving which led to a yellow card apiece for their actions

A header from Kettle on ninety-one minutes gave the hosts a momentary heart flutter, but the veteran defender's glancing effort at the far post from a Knights corner flew over the crossbar and into the Stourbridge fans behind Brooks's goal

Lita joined McQuilkin and King into the book in added time as he 'took one for the team' as he pulled back Lyttle inside the Stourbridge half to stop the Glassboys from launching a late attack

The Pitmen were thoroughly deserving of their win and move into Monday's draw after another example of the team moving in the right direction on the pitch. On their day, Burr's men have proven that they are a match for anyone in the league, but have to back up their performance levels with a run of positive results when they return to league action next Saturday with the visit of Leiston. With AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Barwell both picking up points today, the Pitmen have to pick up the maximum points haul to stay in contention with the sides above them 

Hednesford Town: Brooks, Ison, Hartley (McQuilkin 60 ), Rowe, Lowe, Redfern, Obinna Anaebonam (Nesbitt 75), Parker, Lita , Bennett © (Portman 85),  Livingstone      Subs Unused: Bailey, Cuff, Clayton

Stourbridge: Price, Vaughan ©, Lyttle, Prosser, Worley (Knight 45), Kettle, Gittings (Moore 39), King , Cowley, Styche, Mills (Knights 60)       Sub Unused: Solly


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