Southern Premier League

Halesowen Town

Haarhoff (51)

Hednesford Town

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Marlon Walters



Bath City (H) 9.11.04

The Pitmen suffer their third reverse in four games at the Grove this evening as Halesowen complete an early-season double over their old rivals and move them back to the top of the Southern Premier League table in the process


Player/manager Chris Brindley had attacked the players in the press the past few days and questioned their commitment after their tame F.A. Cup defeat to Stratford Town last week. Having had Saturday off due to the postponement of their game against Bath City, Brindley was allowed more time to make changes to his side for tonight's derby as made three changes to the side, bringing in Anthony Maguire in place of Lee Williams, Chris Gray in for Carl Palmer and Grant Beckett replacing Matt Turner. On the bench, youth team graduate Jack Rogers made his first appearance, alongside former Hinckley United defender Linton Bailey, who had recently joined the club

Halesowen had made progress in the F.A. Cup on Saturday after beating Glasshoughton Welfare in the third qualifying round to set up a tie with Brigg Town in the final qualifying round. Manager Paul Holleran made just the one change to the side that had started at the weekend as Jason Moore replaced Richard Burgess up front for the Yeltz


It was Hednesford who were first to signal their intent on a cold evening in Worcestershire as striker Andy Bell almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute as his acrobatic bicycle kick from a Gray cross landed on the top of the net with Halesowen stopper Chris Taylor watching the ball over

In the eleventh minute, Maguire sent over a dangerous-looking free-kick from the left that was curling towards goal until a timely interception from Dan Jones cleared the danger from the incoming Leon McSweeney

The hosts had their first chance of the game three minutes later as Lewis Baker rose to meet a corner kick from Alex Cowley, but found Ryan Young equal to his effort as the Hednesford goalkeeper palmed the ball away from danger

In the seventeenth minute, the Pitmen's growing injury woes increased by one as Grant Beckett pulled up injured down the left flank and was immediately replaced by Damien Charie as he limped away from the pitch

Sixty seconds later, old Kidderminster team-mates Steve Pope and Brindley clattered into each other just outside the Hednesford penalty area and were both spoken to by referee Mr Barrow before being sent away with a warning


A fine pass by Jones midway through the half split the Hednesford defence and played Moore in behind them, but the returning striker lifted his shot over the crossbar from fifteen yards out

Mark Branch's presence saw him win the ball from a dawdling Ian Cooper on twenty-six minutes and tee up Marlon Walters, who was positioned twenty-five yards from goal. The former Wolves youngster snatched at his effort, however, and lifted his shot over the crossbar rather than take an extra touch to steady himself

Former Birmingham City striker Jimmy Haarhoff - scorer of the Yeltz' first goal at Keys Park back in August - went close to opening the scoring the evening a minute later as he beat Richard Teesdale to a long ball forwards from Nicki Preston and cut inside, but sent his cross-cum-shot high and wide of the far post as he failed to pick out Baker

Brindley headed into the side netting on thirty-two minutes as he met a Maguire corner kick at the near post, but flicked his header wide of Taylor's near post

The Pitmen's manager was the first player to be booked in what was to be a busy evening of yellow cards for Mr Barrow, as he was booked on thirty-six minutes for hacking down Haarhoff in full flight, thirty yards from the Hednesford goal

Two minutes later, Moore was presented with an identical chance to the one he had fluffed fifteen minutes earlier, but he once again wasted a great opening as he hesitated at the crucial moment and lifted his rushed effort over the crossbar as Lee Barrow put him under pressure

Preston was denied by Young on forty-one minutes as Simon Forsdick's corner kick was flicked on at the near post by Moore and into the path of the Yeltz defender, whose goalbound header was clawed away by the Hednesford number one on his goal line

The Pitmen ended the half with a flourish, winning successive corners in the final minute as Gray crossed for Maguire, whose first-time effort was deflected away by Pope before Brindley's follow-up was claimed at the second attempt by his former Bromsgrove Rovers nemesis Taylor

It had been a keenly-contested first period from both sides, with very little to separate the two teams. The Pitmen had done well to make light of their injury woes and had done well to cover for the absence of key players Turner, Williams and Palmer in midfield

However, Holleran's team-talk appeared to have the desired effect for the hosts, who started the second period with real authority as they pushed the visitors back into their own half. Two minutes after the restart, Pope won a free-kick thirty yards from goal and took the kick himself, watching his shot take a nick off the Hednesford wall and drift wide of the post for a corner kick, which Cowley curled straight out of play and into the side-netting

The tricky Forsdick was the architect of the goal that was to prove the difference between the two sides on fifty-one minutes as be made a mazy run down the right-wing, leaving no fewer than four Hednesford players in his wake before slipping the ball into the path of Haarhoff, who beat Young from a tight angle from eighteen yards out

Barrow was alert to the danger posed by Moore once more four minutes later as he hacked the ball away from danger to prevent the striker from getting his shot away down the left-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area

On the hour mark, Young was once again alert to make a smart save to deny Baker as he claimed the striker's header on his goal line after he had met a cross from Forsdick

The game became scrappy for a spell, with Josh Skidmore booked for a foul on Charie on sixty-two minutes and Walters following him into the book a minute later as he chopped down Cowley on the right flank

Charie's fine run down the right was halted by Preston on sixty-six minutes and allowed Maguire to size up a free-kick by the touchline; his fine cross was flicked on by Teesdale but drifted wide of goal as neither Bell nor McSweeney could get on the end of the header

Pope was booked for the Yeltz on sixty-nine minutes for an accumulation of niggly fouls by the veteran on Maguire, Barrow and finally Walters as he battled for the ball

A minute later, Haarhoff turned provider for Jones with a fine reverse ball to play the onrushing midfielder through on goal, only for Young to make a timely block with his legs

Two minutes later, Pope's hopeful free-kick from twenty-five yards out cleared the top of the Hednesford wall but also dipped just wide of Young's right-hand post

The Pitmen had been poor up front once more, as they had been at Stratford last Tuesday night, with Bell and McSweeney once again largely anonymous. Assistant manager Steve Anthrobus was introduced to the action with fourteen minutes remaining to add his considerable height and frame to the visitors' flagging attack

The big man was straight into the game, flicking on a Gray cross from the right into the six-yard box two minutes after coming on but seeing Preston clear the ball away from danger inside his own six-yard box

Baker made an even more timely intervention with ten minutes remaining as a low cross from Walters - out on the right flank after beating Preston - found Anthrobus, whose goalbound shot was somehow cleared off the line by the covering striker, who had dropped back to support his defenders

With five minutes remaining, the ineffective Gray was shown a yellow card for a bout of dissent at the referee after a free-kick he felt should have been awarded to him went the way of Halesowen, culminating in the winger kicking the ball away

Two minutes later, Preston picked the final of the game's six cautions as he was booked for lunging in on McSweeney to stop the Irishman from turning past him thirty yards form goal

Maguire took the resultant free-kick and lifted his ball into the far post, where Barrow saw his header deflected behind by Cooper for a Hednesford corner kick

In the first of three minutes of added time, Bell's rotten night in front of goal was summed up with his final chance of the game as he got in behind a tired-looking Yeltz defended to reach Charie's lofted pass, but elected to shoot from an angle rather than play the ball to the unmarked McSweeney at the far post and saw his shot tipped away by the fingertips of Taylor for another corner kick

The Yeltz held on to record a fine double over their local rivals and move back above Chippenham Town in the standings. For the Pitmen, successive defeats leave them down in tenth place in the table, some six points off the play-off places and looking to regroup after a rough week that had seen them robbed of most of their first-choice midfield for a spell and now missing Beckett for what is likely to be up to a month with a groin injury. Saturday sees them return to Keys Park to face another high-flying side in the form of Cirencester Town 

Halesowen Town: Taylor; Cooper, Forsdick (Haywood 80), Preston , Pope , Jones, Cowley, Haarhoff (Danks 86), Moore, Baker, Skidmore (Robinson 80). Unused Subs: Steane, Amos

Hednesford Town: Young; Teesdale, Branch, Barrow ©, Brindley , Walters , Maguire (Anthrobus 76), Beckett (Charie 17), Bell, McSweeney, Gray       Unused Subs: Bailey, Rogers, Evans