Stamford AFC 0, Hednesford Tn 2 (FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round - Saturday, October 26)
A couple of hotly-disputed penalty decisions put paid to Stamford AFC’s dreams of creating history today (October 26).
The Daniels instead had to settle for respectability as they came up short in their bid to reach the FA Cup first round proper for the first time.
David Staff’s men pushed higher-level Hednesford to the limit in a fourth qualifying round tie which attracted a bumper crowd of 668 to the Vic Couzens Stadium, but they bowed out after conceding twice from the penalty spot in the second half.
Prolific Hednesford attacker Elliott Durrell was the man to oblige on both occasions while Stamford left-back Nathan Haines was the sinner on both occasions - in the opinion of rather fussy referee Stephen Plane at least.
Dangerman Durrell had earlier been denied a far more spectacular goal by an upright.
A player, whose progress is rumouredly being monitored by Football League clubs, drifted inside to thunder a 25-yard drive against the woodwork on the half-hour mark.
Clear goalscoring chances were at a premium at both ends but Stamford looked threatening early on.
Richard Wesley saw a volley blocked by the legs of Hednesford goalkeeper Dan Crate before Jordan Smith tested the visiting number one with a looping header from a Haines delivery.
Stamford also started the second period brightly with Wesley being denied at the near post before a deflected David Moyo effort on the turn trickled wide.
But the deadlock was eventually broken at the other end in the 55th minute after Haines had clumsily jumped into Michael Lennon.
An exaggerated fall to the ground from the Hednesford man probably helped official Plane decide to point to the spot and Durrell had no trouble in sending Stamford goalkeeper Andy Stevens the wrong.
And the result was the same after 78 minutes when Haines was even more harshly penalised for the slightest of shoves on Lennon.
Stamford threw skipper Richard Jones up front in a desperate attempt to haul themselves back into the game, but they draw a blank.
In the end the romance of the cup was in short supply as the Daniels were left thinking about what might have been.
Stamford: Andy Stevens, Jon Challinor, Nathan Haines, Alvin Jarvis, Richard Jones, Jack Ashton, Dan Lawlor (sub Andy Burgess), Ash Robinson, Jordan Smith, David Moyo, Richard Wesley (sub Shawn Richards). Unused subs: Liam Richardson, Luke Blakely, David Staff.
Hednesford: Dan Crane, John Disney, Darren Campion (sub Alex Mebourne), Ben Bailey, Francino Francis, Kris Taylor, Jamey Osborne, Elliott Durrell, Neil Harvey (sub Dave Macpherson), Michael Lennon, Wayne Riley (sub Robbie Thompson-Brown). Unused: Nathan Woolfe, Charlie Anagho-Ntamark, Aaron Rey.