The visitors, watched from the stands by Lee Clark, fielded five first-team players with Amari'i Bell, Brian Howard, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Shinnie (pictured) and Koby Arthur all starting this Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final.
Joshua Dacres-Cogley and Chris Sutherland looked sprightly in a relatively quiet opening ten minutes until the game came alive with an absolute stunner of an opening goal from Shinnie as the forward picked up the ball in midfield, turned and hit a firecracker of a shot from 30 yards past a helpless Dan Crane into the top corner.
Blues were being tested by their Skrill North opponents and the equaliser came on 24 minutes when a Tom Thorley free kick dropped loose at the back post and Paul Sullivan swept in past Callum Preston.
Crane bravely blocked an Arthur shot as the pacy winger screamed through the Hednesford defence on the counter, shortly after the hosts had hit the cross bar, and, with the best move of an engrossing first-half, Bell ran fully 60 yards with the ball at his feet, swapped passes with Howard, but found Crane brilliantly equal to his shot.
Preston tipped over a fierce Darren Campion free kick just before the break and The Pitmen took the lead on 49 minutes when a long ball wasn’t dealt with and Sullivan dummied Preston cheekily, finishing well past the goalkeeper.
The home side furthered their lead on 69 minutes when Howard felled Jamey Osborne and the skilful midfielder dusted himself down and arrowed a superb free kick into the corner from 25 yards.
A stirring Blues comeback started on 79 minutes when the impressive Shinnie dinked a superb pass into Lovenkrands to round the goalkeeper and finish into the open net and, just as Hednesford thought they had won the game, Liam Truslove superbly looped his header over Crane with almost the final kick of the match.
Both sides looked tired in extra time, with Howard limping off after a heavy challenge in the first half, but it was slack defending that cost Blues as Campion swung a corner in and substitute Neil Harvey headed past Preston to win a game packed full of drama and incident.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, Francis, McCone, Osborne (Thompson-Brown 86), Melbourne, Blissett (Harvey 106), Sullivan (Anagho-Ntamark 72), Thorley.
Subs Not Used: Woolfe, Lennon,
Blues U21s: Preston, Dacres-Cogley, Bell, Truslove, Webb, Kelly, Sutherland (McFarlane 86), Howard (Cooper 102), Shinnie (McGee 96), Lovenkrands ©, Arthur.
Subs Not Used:Hales, Trueman