22.10.2005

F.A. Cup 4th Qualifying Round

Hednesford Town

Heath (38), Bell (43), McMahon (90)

Vauxhall Motors

(2) 3

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

628

Tommy Whittle

D W L D W L W L W W

 

Worksop Town (A) 29.10.05

The Pitmen cruised into the first round of this season's F.A. Cup for the first time in five seasons as they defeated league rivals Vauxhall Motors at Keys Park this afternoon to put their name into Monday's draw

A timely win over local rivals Moor Green in midweek had moved the Pitmen away from the Conference North drop zone and back into fifteenth place in the table. Manager Chris Brindley - perhaps unsurprisingly - stick with the same XI that had won at Damson Park on Tuesday night, including youth team goalkeeper Alex Molloy amongst the substitutes for the first time to fill the five-man bench

Struggling Motors made their second trip to the area in just five days, having suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat on Tuesday night across the Chase against Stafford Rangers to leave the Motormen rock bottom of the Conference North table ahead of their first-ever visit to Keys Park. Under-pressure manager Owen Brown made three changes to his team for today's cup tie as Tim Dittmer, James Olsen and Brian Moogan all returned to the XI in place of Paul Harrison, James Glendenning and Mike Garrity respectively

In front of another healthy Keys Park crowd, the Pitmen made a good start to the game and had a great chance to take the lead in the sixth minute; Tommy Whittle's long ball forwards was flicked on by Steve Anthrobus and into the path of strike partner Andy Bell, who took the ball ten yards further forwards before dragging his low shot beyond Dittmer's post

Two minutes later, Lee Williams delivered one of his trademark corner kicks into the near post, where skipper Lee Barrow arrived to flick the ball goalwards. The defender was denied the opening goal of the afternoon however as Wayne McDermott hacked the ball off the line

Motors' first chance of the afternoon came in the eleventh minute as good play down the right saw Olsen receive the ball from Moogan in behind Mark Branch, but the full-back's shot was turned away by Whittle at his near post

Whittle was called upon to make another save to deny the visitors four minutes later as Tom Rooney - cousin of Manchester United's Wayne - latched onto a pass from Robbie Lawton to run in behind Richard Teesdale and scuffed his low shot from ten yards out straight into the grateful arms of Whittle

 

 Colin Hunter's trickery on seventeen minutes saw the winger make an enterprising run down the left flank and stole a yard on Olsen before crossing for Anthrobus, who nodded his effort high over Dittmer's crossbar once more with a miscued effort

Midway through the first half, Steve Brannan played a delightful through ball to Hunter from the centre circle, finding the winger with a pass through the middle of two Vauxhall Motors players. Hunter once again led Olsen a merry dance and pulled the ball back from the touchline towards Bell, who was denied by a late, smothering challenge from centre-back Mark McNulty for a Hednesford corner kick

Williams' resultant corner kick was headed up in the air by Teesdale, forcing Dittmer into a tame punch away from goal at his near post. The ball fell to Rob Heath, whose half-volley bounced into the ground and cleared the crossbar from fifteen yards out

The visitors felt that they had a legitimate appeal for a penalty kick on twenty-six minutes as the under-pressure Whittle raced out of his goal to beat Peter Cumiskey to a Moogan through ball but upended the striker just inside his box. Despite the sky blue shirts surrounding referee Mr Steins, the match official was unmoved and Whittle was allowed to pick the loose ball up

On the half-hour mark, Heath and Brannan linked up well in midfield after Brannan had won the ball from Alvaro Parra-Dioni, playing Bell into space down the right. The striker took two touches and held the ball up well, waiting for Adams to make the run on the overlap. His deep cross was met by Hunter, who side-footed the ball back across goal but without any genuine conviction and allowed Dittmer to claim the ball

The burly McNulty went close for Motors three minutes later as a free-kick from Moogan was inadvertently flicked into his path of Teesdale, only for the centre-back to fluff his lines and bundle the ball wide of the far post

The Pitmen grabbed the all-important opener with seven minutes of the first half remaining as the combative Brannan won the ball in midfield again and played Heath through with another fine pass; the midfielder took a touch before executing a fine lob over the head of the advancing Dittmer on the edge of the penalty area and into the empty net

This lifted the hosts, who went close to doubling their lead through Williams just two minutes later as he took the ball forwards from midfield before firing a twenty-five yards shot just wide of the post

There was still time for the Pitmen to double their lead before the break, however, as the hosts extended their lead on forty-three minutes. Heath was brought down by Scott Willis, just to the left-hand side of the Motors penalty area. Brannan took the free-kick quickly and played Bell in on goal, with the striker slotting home from close-range with a trademark poacher's strike from six yards out

In added time at the end of the first half, the much-maligned Whittle made a fine save to deny the away side an immediate response as he pushed away McNulty's goalbound header following a left-wing corner kick

The overall play had been fairly even, much in the same way as the Pitmen's game against Banbury United in the previous round, but Hednesford had once again been the better of the two sides when it mattered in front of goal to put one foot in the first round proper

Whittle denied Vauxhall Motors a route back into the game just sixty seconds into the second half as Leighton McGivern beat the flimsy Hednesford offside trap to get on the end of a pass from Moogan, but the Hednesford stopper was equal to his shot to turn it away from goal

The Pitmen responded five minutes later through assistant manager Anthrobus as he got on the end of a four-man move involving Branch, Hunter and Heath before firing his low shot straight into the arms of Dittmer from ten yards out

On fifty-two minutes, Heath was forced off, holding the back of his leg with what appeared to be a muscle pull and was replaced by Grant Beckett in the centre of midfield

A slip by Barrow on fifty-six minutes allowed Cumiskey a sight at goal as the Hednesford skipper gifted the ball to the visiting striker; he took the ball into the penalty area but tried to work the ball onto his right foot and allowed Teesdale to make a covering challenge

Just after the hour mark, Beckett exchanged passes with Branch before setting Hunter on his way down the left, making a run beyond the winger to take the ball back from him and cross from the byeline to Bell, whose side-footed effort was easily saved by Dittmer

Midway through the second half, Motors had the ball in the net as Rooney's slide-rule pass caught the Hednesford defence flat-footed and found substitute Karl O'Donnell, who turned the ball home from close-range. However, an offside flag against the striker saw the goal disallowed, despite O'Donnell's pleas that he was level with Barrow when the ball was played

On seventy minutes, Brannan won a free kick for the hosts just outside the Motors penalty area, which was spotted up by Williams. He curled the ball over the top of the Motors wall but also cleared the crossbar by a foot or so

Anthrobus headed down a long ball forwards from Whittle on seventy-five minutes and found Hunter, whose first-time effort whistled just wide of the left-hand post from eighteen yards out

This was to be Anthrobus's final involvement in the game as he was replaced by top scorer Paul McMahon two minutes later as the Pitmen mixed up their options up front

O'Donnell got the better of Branch on eighty minutes as he beat the full-back to a long ball forwards from Olsen down the flank; he turned onto his left foot and swung the ball into the penalty area, where fellow substitute Paul Addo shot wide from fifteen yards out

Whittle denied Vauxhall Motors a potential grandstand finish with six minutes of the game remaining as he made a superb flying save to push Moogan's curling free-kick over his crossbar for a Motors corner kick

At the other end, McMahon almost wrapped up the tie on eighty-six minutes as Bell's clever lay-off found his strike partner, whose first-time shot was well saved by Dittmer

In the final minute, a quick counter from the Pitmen saw Olsen slip at the worst possible moment as he allowed the ball to run past him and into the path of Hunter, who picked Bell out with a chipped cross that the striker somehow failed to turn home from a couple of yards out

No matter, as the hosts finally put a gloss finish on their route into the next round with a late, late third goal; another counter-attack from the hosts saw McMahon break down the right and play Bell into space in behind the Motors defence, with Bell unselfishly returning the ball to McMahon and allow the substitute to slot past the advancing Dittmer from eight yards out

The Pitmen had been good value for their win against a Motors side that had been a fleeting threat but had struggled to turn their chances into goals, whereas the hosts had been more prolific in front of goal. Monday's draw opens up the possibility of a tie against the likes of Nottingham Forest, Bradford City or Walsall in the first round proper, with the tie due to take place in early November. Before then, the Pitmen return to league action as they make the trip over to Worksop Town next weekend looking to make it three wins in a row for the first time this season

Hednesford Town: Whittle, Adams, Branch, Barrow ©, Teesdale, Williams, Brannan, Heath (Beckett 52), Anthrobus (McMahon 77), Bell, Hunter     Subs Unused: Brindley, Beckett, T. Marshall, Molloy

Vauxhall Motors: Dittmer, Olsen, McDermott, Willis, McNulty, Parra-Dioni (Glendenning 51), Moogan, Lawton, Rooney, McGivern (O'Donnell 64), Cumiskey (Addo 64)       Subs Unused: Garrity, McNutt