Hednesford Town 4 Stone Dominoes 1

Tuesday 25th September 2012
Hednesford Town 4 Stone Dominoes 1
Staffordshire Senior Cup First Round
At: Keys Park
Admission: £5; Programme: none; Teamsheet: free
Weather: rain
Attendance: 92
Duration: first-half: 46:15; second-half: 45:28

A few people I know have started making increasing use of Twitter to share the grounds they visit and games they watch. They’re also using it to check for news of pitch inspections and postponements in bad weather, especially as most clubs now tweet. While I don’t yet have a Twitter account, this form of social media became invaluable this afternoon with all of the rain we’ve had over the past couple of days.

My shortlist of possible games gradually reduced but the closest game of them all, Hednesford Town’s home Staffordshire Senior Cup First Round against Stone Dominoes, survived the deluge as I discovered via Twitter:

Spotted around 1 pm…

From @vikkihtoc to @Hednesford_Town: Will there be a pitch inspection ahead of tonights match??????

Reply by @Hednesford_Town: not at the moment. Pitch was ok at midday.


From @Hednesford Town: I have just been informed that a local referee is currently carrying out a pitch inspection at the ground. Will post details ASAP

From @Hednesford Town: We can confirm that tonight's match is ON. The pitch has passed an earlier inspection

Thirteen clubs entered this year’s Staffordshire Senior Cup and tonight’s tie got the 2012/13 competition underway. Four further First Round ties will be played next month – Norton United v Stoke City (17/10), Heath Hayes v Rocester (16/10), Stafford Rangers v Leek Town (13/11) and Chasetown v Newcastle Town (15/1). The winners of these ties will join Hednesford Town and the three clubs with byes – Kidsgrove Athletic, Port Vale and Rushall Olympic – in the quarter finals.

The journey across Cannock Chase is a familiar one, though a bit wilder than normal this evening! And, tonight’s trip to Keys Park was my fourteenth visit to the ground. Last Tuesday, Ostrich reported his visit on the Non-League Matters Forum and I agree with his comment about the place: ‘I know new-build stadiums aren’t to everyone’s taste, but this is a superb ground with excellent unencumbered viewing high-up from the seats.’ Keys Park has cover on all four sides with a large seated stand on the main side of the ground, aka the ‘Wimblebury side’, and further seats behind the goal at the ‘Hednesford End’.

Cutting to the league tables, Hednesford Town (3rd in the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier League with 17 points from 8 games) and Stone Dominoes (21st in the North-West Counties League Premier Division with 4 points and no league wins from 11 games) were separated by some 61 league positions. On Saturday, the Pitmen won 3-2 at Nuneaton Griff to progress into the FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser Third Qualifying Round while Doms lost 3-1 in the league at home to St Helens Town.

Hednesford (in white and black) got the game underway attacking the seated Hednesford End and immediately started to create chances. Michael Lennon and Jamey Osborne both went close to putting The Pitmen ahead as Stone struggled to keep the ball out of their half.

I must confess to not liking the visitors’ red shirts with black numbers so I started to make brief notes on players in case they needed identifying later in the game: no.2 – two white lines on boots, no. 5 captain, no. 7 blue and orange boots, no. 8 lime green on boots, etc.

Almost constant pressure eventually led to a Hednesford goal scored in the 20th minute. John Disney’s initial shot was blocked on the line by a defender and Lennon forced the ball over the line at close range despite another attempted goalline clearance.

Hednesford’s goalkeeper, Sam Hornby, had little to do on his first-team debut, yet remained alert and well positioned to hold a 30-yard shot from Ryan Ball.

I must mention the pitch – a well-drained firm surface that barely cut up despite all of the rain we’ve had over the past 48 hours.

Back to the action and just before the hour mark, Stone's Philip Bruce dived to his left to keep out a well-struck 35-yard drive from Disney at the expense of a corner.

Amazingly, Stone bagged a surprise equaliser in the 35th minute. Hussein Nashar got between the two Hednesford central defenders and fired low past Hornby.

But, the Pitmen took just two minutes to regain the lead. Elliott Durrell delivered an inswinging corner from the left which landed inside the six-yard box for Lennon to flick home past Bruce.

At the interval, with Hednesford creating no fewer than 23 attempts on goal, I shouldn’t have had the remotest thought in my mind about possible extra time and penalties. Yet, Stone trailed by just one goal.

Hednesford, now attacking the Heath Hayes End terrace, continued where they left off and sent several efforts flashing past the Stone goal.

It was no surprise when Stone’s defence was breached for the third time on the hour mark. Osborne curled a shot from near the left corner of the area into the far bottom-right corner. Now I could forget about the prospect of extra time!

The chances kept on coming. Bruce got his legs in the way of Durrell’s well-struck shot and a defender Daniel Counter did well to clear Darren Campion’s cross-cum-shot off the line.

Lennon completed a deserved hat-trick in the 70th minute, glancing a header home from Durrell’s free-kick.

Hednesford could have added more goals with Campion, substitute Aaron Ray and the impressive Durrell both going close.

Hednesford Town (white/black/black): 1. Sam Hornby, 2. John Disney, 3. Darren Campion (capt), 4. Sam Barnes, 5. Ben Bailey, 6. Ben Watkis, 7. Jamey Osborne, 8. Elliott Durrell, 9. Sean O’Connor, 10. Michael Lennon, 11. Nathan Woolfe. Subs: 12. Francino Francis, 14. Alex Melbourne (for Disney, 73), 15. Rico Taylor (for Woolfe, 67), 16. Aaron Ray (for O’Connor, 58), 17. Neil Harvey (not used).

Stone Dominoes (red/white/white): 1. Philip Bruce, 2. Jack Beech, 3. Adam Fulker, 4. Liam Kerrigan, 5. Michael Marren (capt), 6. Daniel Counter, 7. Ryan Ball, 8. Joshua Hadley, 9. Aaron Johns, 10. Hussein Nashar, 17. Tom Laraso. Subs: 12. Stephen Allen (for Nashar, 80), 14. Dwayne Spence (for Ball, 73), 15. Joseph Woolliscroft (for Hadley, 76).

Referee: S. Eagland.
Assistants: M. Randles and M. Cattell.

1-0 Michael Lennon (20)
1-1 Hussein Nashar (35)
2-1 Michael Lennon (37)
3-1 Jamey Osborne (60)
4-1 Michael Lennon (70)

Hednesford: none
Stone: Dwayne Spence (YC, 87)