F.A. Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round


Hednesford Town

Durrell (59), Osborne (80)

(0) 0

(0) 2



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Dave MacPherson


Marine (H) 30.10.12

Hednesford Town put their names into the hat for the final qualifying round of this season's F.A. Trophy, courtesy of a regulation win over Evo-Stik Division One North high-flyers Trafford this afternoon

With one eye on Tuesday night's big Evo-Stik League clash at home to Marine, Hednesford gaffer Rob Smith made a change to his formation and rested striker Neil Harvey in the process. Midfielder Luke Bottomer came in in place of Harvey, with Sean O'Connor left as the lone striker

Evo-Stik Division One side Trafford had scored freely this season so far, having chalked up over fifty goals in all competitions already so were a potential banana skin for Rob Smith's side going into the tie

The new, more expansive formation almost paid dividends immediately for the visitors, as Bottomer got into a goalscoring position inside the area. His mis-hit shot fell kindly to O'Connor, but he, in turn, made a hash of his shot and scuffed his effort well wide of goal

O'Connor was in the thick of it again three minutes later, as he timed his run to perfection to reach Nathan Woolfe's cross - he failed to get his header on target, however, and headed over the bar

The big striker's continued involvement in the game saw him pick up a Woolfe pass, before turning his marker and firing in a shot that was blocked by a Trafford defender

Trafford came back into the game after ten minutes of defending, with the highly-rated Shelton Payne causing the Pitmen problems with his movement. It was Payne's free-kick on eleven minutes that tested Dan Crane's reflexes for the first time in the afternoon

The resultant corner saw Payne whip in a cross that Michael Oates headed against the underside of the bar, with the Pitmen grateful to Alex Melbourne as he hacked the ball away from goal

Trafford's admirable tactic of playing out from the back and on the floor was causing the Pitmen a number of headaches - but was to become their Achilles heel later in the game as the away side wised up to this style of play. Still, more good football saw Trafford earn another free kick on the edge of the Hednesford area midway through the first half. Payne was the taker again, this time forcing Crane into making a superb one-handed stop to force the ball over the crossbar

Payne took Trafford's resultant corner kick and found Tom Schofield on the edge of the penalty area with a clever ball. However, his rising shot was watched over the bar by a relieved Crane

On twenty-seven minutes, Trafford's Warren Collier had to be at his best to slide in and deny O'Connor a clear goalscoring opportunity, as the big man broke clear of the Trafford defence and homed in on goal

A typically marauding run from Durrell on thirty-three minutes saw the midfielder shake off two half-hearted Trafford challenges before he unleashed a powerful shot at goal, but got far too much under the ball and fired over the crossbar

There were loud calls for a penalty kick from Hednesford players, supporters and managers just before half time, as Bottomer appeared to be brought down by Collier in the area, but the referee seemed unimpressed at the protests and played on

Hednesford started the second half with more purpose, with Trafford given less time on the ball as the Pitmen closed them down at the back. This seemed to give the hosts trouble, as Hednesford picked the loose ball up on numerous occasions and ran at the Trafford defence at will

Durrell should have given the Pitmen the lead on fifty minutes, as his fierce low shot across Trafford keeper Tom Read struck the inside of the far post and rolled along the goal line before going out on the opposite side of the goal

This was swiftly followed two minutes later by a low drive from Jamey Osborne, setting himself up twenty yards out before shooting inches wide of the left-hand post

It was Durrell who did finally break the deadlock just before the hour mark, as Woolfe slipped the ball across to him on the edge of the penalty area. Durrell took a touch to take the ball away from marker Collier, before unleashing an unstoppable low drive past a static Read

With that goal in the bag, Smith took the opportunity to rest a couple of players ahead of Tuesday night, with O'Connor and Woolfe both making way for Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey

Rey was involved straightaway, forcing Read into a good save after shimmying inside and curling a shot in on goal with his first touch of the game

With twelve minutes remaining, Bottomer was given a rest as he was replaced by John Disney. This move saw a reorganisation in the ranks, with Melbourne moving from right back to right midfield to accommodate Disney

After Harvey had cleared the crossbar with a shot, Osbourne finally ended the game as a contest with ten minutes left. Given too much time twenty yards out, Osborne simply set himself and fired low past Read for his second goal of the season

Rey was guilty of missing a great chance to grab his second Hednesford goal with four minutes left, scooping the ball over from close range as he stretched to reach a loose ball

In the final minute, Trafford's efforts were almost rewarded as Payne drove the ball towards goal, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance from Sam Barnes

So it is the Pitmen who go into Monday's draw, perhaps hoping to avoid a Blue Square North or South side as they look to make progress in the competition they won eight years ago

Trafford: Read, Collier, Halligan, Mason, Bayunu ©, Schofield, Payne, Andrews, Oates (Heron 83), Landregan (Keightley 60), Wright (Umokoro-Emu 83)      Subs Unused: Constantine, Vaughan

Hednesford Town: Crane, Melbourne , Campion, Bailey, Barnes, MacPherson © , Osborne, Durrell , O’Connor (Harvey 66), Bottomer  (Disney 78), Woolfe (Rey 66)      Subs Unused: Lennon, Hornby

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