Hednesford Town reached the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup as a late Elliott Durrell penalty broke the hearts of Midland Alliance Coventry Sphinx who, to their credit, belied the gap in league position with a performance full of endeavour and commitment.
Hednesford should have scored at least twice in the opening fifteen minutes with Ben Bailey’s close range header saved by Carl O’Neill before Michael Lennon deflected a shot onto the cross bar.
Following their encouraging start The Pitmen struggled to find a passing rhythm thanks largely to the strong tackling of the home side and, despite Nathan Woolfe looking a class above on the left wing, Coventry took the lead on the stroke of half time when Kyle Rhodes converted a penalty conceded by Sam Barnes.
Hednesford equalised when substitute Neil Harvey ran across his marker and headed beyond the goalkeeper on 54 minutes and the away side could have taken the lead two minutes later but for a superb sprawling save by O’Neill from Dave MacPherson.
Neil Harvey turned in an Elliott Durrell cross on 67 minutes to make the score 2-1 but straight from the kick off The Pitmen were caught napping as Adam Billic scrambled in an equaliser.
Sphinx tried in vain for a winner until, with 89 minutes on the clock, Durrell was felled in the box and calmly converted the spot kick for Hednesford before tempers frayed with Pitmen captain MacPherson lucky not to be sent off for a strong challenge and Coventry’s James Ritson seeing red for foul and abusive language.
The Pitmen, fresh from Saturday’s defeat against North Ferriby, can deservedly take solace from another cup final appearance this season against either Stourbridge or Sutton Coldfield Town.
Hornby, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (Harvey 45 (54, 67)), Durrell (89 Pen), Lennon, Wright, MacPherson (c), Woolfe
Subs Not Used
Shearer, Rey, Francis, Fincher
O’Neill, Ritson, Hill, Billic, Guest, Atkins, Johal. Rhodes (c), Cutting, McNally, Jackson
Subs Not Used
Dyke, Muldoon, Holmes, Connelly
Bookings – Atkins, Rhodes, MacPherson
Sent Off – Ritson
Star Man – Nathan Woolfe
Attendance – 149
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars