10.2.2004

F.A. Trophy 4th Round Replay

Worthing

Francis (48)

Hednesford Town

Danks (10), Anthrobus (71)

(0) 1

(1) 2

 

Attendance

MotM

Current Form

Next Match

705

Chris Brindley

D D D L W L L D L W

 

Dover Athletic (H) 14.2.04

The Pitmen move into the fifth round of the F.A. Trophy for the first time in the club's history tonight as Barry Powell's side show huge character to produce a fine win over Ryman League Division One South side Worthing at a wet and wild Woodside Road in tonight's fourth round replay

Making their second long trip south in four days following a trip to Kent to face Welling United on Saturday, manager Powell was forced into one change to his side with winger Chris Gray once again unavailable due to being cup-tied and was replaced by Danny McGhee. The other change to Powell's starting XI came in the centre of defence as Chris Brindley returned to the side in place of Lee Barrow, who dropped to the bench. Karl Brown returned to squad after spending the past month on loan at Nationwide Conference strugglers Northwich Victoria to take his place amongst the substitutes

Worthing has impressed with their attacking threat in the first game at Keys Park last Tuesday night and will have been confident at finishing the job tonight after getting the step two Pitmen back to their own ground. The Reds had crashed to defeat at home to Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday's league game, leaving Worthing trailing league leaders a full fourteen points behind Lewes in the final promotion spot. Manager Alan Pook made four changes to the side that had started against Dulwich as Andy Beech, Gavin Geddes Luke Fontana and Mark Knee were replaced by Darren Freeman, skipper Paul Rogers, debutant Clay Lamont and top scorer Sam Francis

The weather on the south coast had turned during the day with the players and hardy supporters greeted with constant drizzle throughout the evening. The men in white made light work of the conditions and got off to a good start to the game as Stuart Ryder headed into the side-netting at the far post in the fourth minute as he headed a Les Hines free-kick goalwards

The Pitmen's early pressure paid dividends for them in the tenth minute of the game as Mark Danks grabbed his fifteenth goal of the season; McGhee's mazy run down the right saw him jink his way past Lamont and cross for Steve Evans, whose goalwards-header was well saved by Will Packham in the Worthing goal. He could only parry the ball as far as Danks however, who had the simple task of side-footing the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle

Two minutes later, Danks's strike partner Steve Anthrobus could have doubled the Pitmen's advantage as he met a cross from Steve Evans and headed goalwards from ten yards out as he beat Ross Johnson to the ball, only for Packham to make a good save at his near post

The hosts responded by using the pace of Francis to good effect, playing long balls into the spaces in behind the Hednesford defence and relying on the striker to beat the likes of Brindley and Ryder to the ball. A darting run from Francis in the fifteenth minute looked to have sent him away from the clutches of the Pitmen's back line, only for a late offside flag from the assistant on the main stand side to deny Francis a clear shot at goal

Skipper Palmer was booked for his part in a skirmish that involved Freeman three minutes later after the pair had tangled in midfield by challenging for a bouncing ball

The hosts went agonisingly close to levelling the tie once more on twenty-three minutes as Mark Pulling's corner was flicked on by Lamont - returning to the club after a spell at Three Bridges - to find Sean Grice, whose subsequent shot cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and was cleared by Hines on the line

Brindley was turning in a masterful performance at centre-back to justify his inclusion in the side, making a timely block to deny Francis on twenty-seven minutes before heading a dangerous cross from Owen Hill from underneath his own crossbar as he tracked back to clear a deep cross from the left

Grice was left incredibly frustrated on thirty-two minutes as he let fly from the edge of the penalty area and once again saw his effort come back off the crossbar with Young beaten all ends up

Six minutes later, Francis and his team-mates had a long and loud shout for a penalty kick as Hill's corner kick was met at the far post by Francis, whose shot at goal appeared to strike the hand of Alex Gibson as the full-back defended his post. The referee Mr. Lee was surrounded by the men on red demanding a spot-kick, but he remained unmoved and awarded the home side a corner kick

In first-half added time, another deep corner kick from Hill was headed back across the face of goal by Rogers only for the Pitmen to smuggle the ball away from their own six-yard box as Francis and Freeman looked to turn the loose ball home

Powell's half-time team talk was ruined almost immediately, as the Pitmen once again conceded an early goal at the start of the second half. Freeman made a run down the right and sent over a fine cross to the far post where Francis was on hand to head past Young from eight yards out

The game had so far mirrored the original game to prove that the sides were pretty evenly matched; an early goal from Danks had been cancelled out by a Francis goal around half-time, with all to play for in the final forty minutes of the tie

Brindley almost restored the Pitmen's lead on fifty-one minutes as he met a Hines cross with a bullet header six yards from goal, only to flash his header just over the crossbar

The home side countered with a free-kick from Pulling that was headed narrowly wide by Johnson two minutes later, followed by another miscued header from Grice after Francis had turned the ball back across the face of the Hednesford goal

A great run from Freeman saw him beat the Hednesford flimsy offside trap on fifty-nine minutes after picking up a pass from Rogers. With only Young to beat and with Francis square of him, Freeman made the wrong decision to shoot low to Young's right which allowed the Pitmen stopper to make the save when a pass to Francis would have played the striker into the empty net

Just after the hour mark, Hines hit a superb inswinging free-kick that Worthing struggled to clear inside their six-yard box before Sean Edwards finally hacked the ball away from danger

Ryder was clearly struggling for fitness after such a long spell out injured earlier in the season and was replaced at centre-back on sixty-two minutes by Barrow

Anthrobus had been quiet for much of the evening, having endured torrid abuse from a section of the Worthing fans due to his Wimbledon and Millwall connections. He nodded down a Steve Evans cross on sixty-five minutes to the feet of Danks, only for his strike partner to curl a shot into the far corner just wide of Packham's far post

Anthrobus was to have the last say in the game with what was to prove to be the winner on seventy-one minutes as Danks did well down the left wing to get himself to the goal line and cross to the far post, where Anthrobus was on hand to turn a diving header beyond the reach of Packham from close range. The big man clearly enjoyed getting one over his abusers in the stand and celebrated in front of them with the rain continuing to fall incessantly

Worthing were not done yet however, and pressed the Pitmen in the last fifteen minutes as they looked to take the tie to extra-time. Hill's pass into Freeman was intercepted brilliantly by Brindley on seventy-five minutes, before Francis got his angles all wrong with a wild shot from an angle

Anthrobus was replaced by the pacy Nathan Lamey on seventy-seven minutes as Powell looked to soak up some of the Worthing pressure and use Lamey's pace on the counter-attack

Freeman beat Hines down the right and clipped a cross over to Francis on eighty minutes, with the striker's downward header well saved by Young at the far post

Young was called upon again to keep his side in front five minutes later as Johnson's long throw was turned goalwards by a flick-on by Rogers, only for the Hednesford stopper to make a fine save to his right to turn the ball away from goal

In the final minute of normal time, Worthing forced successive corner kicks through Hill's excellent delivery, with Brindley using every iota of his vast experience to Marshall his defence through the final minutes with a dominating man of the match performance from the veteran

In added time, a deep free-kick from Packham - who was now playing almost on the halfway line - was headed down by Johnson into the danger zone, only for Barrow to slide in and turn the ball away from the boot of substitute Geddes six yards from goal

It had been a tough encounter for the Pitmen to navigate against plucky, in your face opponents who caused them issues in both games going forwards. And yet, Powell's team had shown a resilience and character that had been lacking in league games recently to move into the fifth round of this season's competition for the first time in their history. This is to be the Pitmen's next game at the weekend due to fixture congestion, as league rivals Dover Athletic make the long trip up to Keys Park in an all step two encounter that guarantees a Dr. Martens League club in the quarter finals of the draw on Monday

Worthing: Packham, Edwards, Lamont, Lutwyche, Johnson, Grice , Pulling (Geddes 77), Rogers ©, Francis, Freeman , Hill      Subs Unused: Mateos, Davies, Beech

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson, Hines, McGhee, Brindley, Ryder (Barrow 62), C. Palmer, S. Palmer © Anthrobus (Lamey 77), Danks, S. Evans      Subs Unused: Brown, Charie, P. Evans

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