Pitmen edge five goal thriller against ten men Barwell.
The magic of the Emirates FA Cup came to the PRG Stadium at Keys Park as Hednesford Town faced league rivals Barwell in the Second Round Qualifying. The Pitmen had triumphed at Lutterworth in the previous round while the Canaries had recorded a 4-1 home victory against AFC Mansfield.
The visitors struck first after seven minutes when a good team move cut open the home defence, leaving Omotolani Omotola to fire into the roof of the net.
The Pitmen responded well and dominated possession following the goal. A series of corners and long throws from Ben Bailey tested the Canaries' defence, without creating any clear cut chances. Jayden Cotterill came close to levelling the scores with an own goal when he made a hash of clearing Kieran Wells' deep cross from the right.
James Hurst headed against the crossbar from a corner in what was beginning to look like a frustrating day for the Pitmen.
Bannatyne-Billon in the Barwell goal punched a corner out to Tom Elliott whose shot sailed inches over the bar.
Moments before half time Hurst equalised with a headed finish at the far post from Osebi Abadaki's cross.
In the closing seconds of the half Henry Eze was fortunate to only receive a caution for a foul on Bailey during a Barwell corner.
The Pitmen maintained pressure at the start of the second half taking control of the game. Dominic Brown-Hill having a torrid afternoon against Elliott in midfield, already cautioned in the first half his afternoon came to an early end when he fouled Elliott twice in quick succession. The freekick awarded for his dismissal was whipped into the crowded Barwell area and arrived at the feet of Hurst whose driving shot from the left doubled his tally for the day, giving the home side the lead.
With the Pitmen dictating the game, Barwell equalised against the run of play, Omotola challenged Daniel Platt on the edge of the area with the ball coming loose to Barwell skipper Brady Hickey who fired into an empty net on 61 minutes.
After equalising the Canaries launched a rearguard action with the intention of taking the game back to Barwell for a midweek replay. Often with every player the bar Platt in the Barwell half, the Pitmen looked increasingly frustrated as they were unable to unlock the visitors defence. Two minutes into the five added on, Reece King unleashed a ferocious shot through a crowded box to give the Pitmen a late lead. A minute later substitute Enoch Andoh was upended in the area, James Hurst stepped up to claim his hat trick but was denied by Thomas Bannatyne-Billson's smart save in what would be the last significant piece of action of a memorable FA Cup afternoon at Keys Park.
Hednesford Town; Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey, Morris, K Wells (B Wells 89) Hurst, King, Glover (Andoh 69), Elliott (Gatter 90+4) Abadaki. Subs not used; Fry, Daniels, Ezewele, Veiga.
Barwell; Bannatyne-Billon, Cotterell( McAteer 46)Putman, Percival, Eze, O'Sullivan (Edwards 65), Brown-Hill, Hollis (Evans 56) Omotola, Hickey, Towers. Subs not used; Thomas, Dunkley,