7.11.2009

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Halesowen Town

Moore (6), (76)

Hednesford Town

Barnett (27), (77)

(1) 2

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

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Next Match

504

Sam Aiston

L L D L D W D L W D

Clevedon Town (H) 14.11.09

Before the game, the common consensus was that a draw would be a good result against an in-form Halesowen side for the Pitmen; on the balance of play, one point after the game could have been seen as a slight disappointment, as Hednesford will feel aggrieved at not finishing off a limited Yeltz side in a game they had been behind in twice before finishing strongly

Despite having a fortnight between games, manager Simon Line stuck with the same side that confidently beat Bashley two weeks previously but brought player/coach Richard Walker back into the squad after an injury lay-off, naming the former skipper amongst the substitutes

The Yeltz - fresh from a 2-0 win over basement side Merthyr Tydfil last weekend - were the current form team in the league, having won their last four games in all competitions. Central to their success had been the goals of former Aston Villa and Kidderminster Harriers striker Stefan Moore, who had scored a brace in both of his last two games to lift the side into mid-table after an indifferent start to the season. Manager Matt Clarke stuck with the same side that had started last week's win as the home side went in search of a fifth straight win

  The hosts started much the brighter with Moore looking dangerous in the opening exchanges, frequently changing direction and pace to confuse the young centre back pairing of Ben Bailey and Grant Goodhead to showcase his reputation as one of the top hitmen at step three

Moore started the day top scorer of the league and notched yet another goal - his seventeenth this term already - with a brilliant strike on six minutes. With the Hednesford defence back-tracking, Moore picked the ball up just outside the penalty area, before superbly changing his feet, darting inside three defenders and sidefooting the ball past Gavin Ward

Hednesford were struggling to keep pace with the home side and almost fell further behind four minutes later. Moore got on the end of a left-wing cross, heading towards goal, but was denied by Sean Platt. The ball dropped kindly to former Hednesford target David Blenkinsopp, but he somehow managed to put the ball wide, when it seemed easier to tap the ball into the empty net

The Pitmen had struggled to even break into the Yeltz half up to this point, with only a weak effort from skipper Ross Dyer to show for their first fifteen minutes' work

It very nearly got worse for the away side on fourteen minutes, when Moore again found the net for Halesowen but was this time flagged offside. His initial shot from twelve yards struck Ward, before falling back to the number nine, who rolled the ball in. His celebrations were short-lived, however, as the assistant referee deemed him a yard offside

Elliott Durrell had started very quietly for the Pitmen, but he was next up to test Halesowen keeper Nick Bussey, firing in a low shot that Bussey recovered at the second attempt, with Dyer breathing down his neck

The visitors seemed to be spurred on by this half chance, as they started to take the game to Halesowen. Tyrone Barnett, busy and threatening as usual for the Pitmen, fired in a low shot that was deflected away from goal courtesy of a last-ditch challenge. From the resultant corner, Bailey came in with a late header, but his glancing effort from Durrell's kick dropped inches wide of the far post

Hednesford were now on top, with Moore now well shackled by Bailey and Goodhead. As a result, the home side struggling to come up with an alternative game plan, which played into the Pitmen's hands

On twenty-seven minutes, they finally drew level, with the in-form Barnett yet again the goal hero. A flighted cross from Durrell on the right was played into the near post, where Barnett darted in front of Bussey and looped a header over the Halesowen keeper and into the far corner of the net

The Pitmen had their tails up, and Sam Aiston started to take the game by the scruff of the neck in midfield, exploiting the space in midfield that Halesowen were leaving. His ball to Steve Jagielka on forty minutes saw the former AFC Telford United captain fire a foot or so wide of the post

It was more of the same at the start of the second half, with the Pitmen now kicking down the hill at the Grove. Dyer could have snatched a long-overdue goal ten minutes after the restart but failed to turn Luke Horrocks' cross home, missing the ball as it came across the penalty area

Bailey, who had already scored on this ground this season against Stourbridge, almost added to his impressive goal haul for the season five minutes later, rising highest to get his head to Durrell's corner but heading inches over the bar

Aiston was continuing to have his most effective game for the Pitmen, making some surging runs from midfield to the fringes of the Halesowen area. One such run on seventy minutes saw him skip past two flailing challenges before striking a crisp shot from eighteen yards out that Bussey did well to turn away

The referee Mr Dunn was not having one of his better afternoons in the middle, frequently getting decisions wrong against both sides; Horrocks was on the receiving end of his most ridiculous decision of the game, picking up a yellow card on seventy-two minutes for handball after he had been fouled and landed on the ball

Halesowen as an attacking unit had been nondescript for some time, with manager Matt Clarke making a raft of substitutions during the second half. on seventy-six minutes, the Yeltz's one and only attack of the second half brought them an unlikely second goal, courtesy of you-know-who. The Pitmen looked to have the hosts stuck in their own half, but Zak Martin missed a tackle, allowing the ball to be played long for Moore, who had already scampered away from Goodhead. Bailey gave chase, but Moore brought the ball under control and coolly fired past Ward from the edge of the area - a great finish from a player playing far too low down in the pyramid for his talent

The large band of travelling supporters could hardly believe it, as their side had dominated proceedings for an hour, and yet found themselves losing with thirteen minutes left. Rather than allow the goal to upset their game, Hednesford responded in the perfect way just sixty seconds later. The ball was worked down the right-hand side between Durrell and Platt, with Durrell picking out Barnett a few yards inside the area. Without taking a touch, Barnett fired a low first time shot past Bussey to put the Pitmen level once again

The final ten minutes was all Hednesford, as Halesowen looked to hang on to their point. Durrell was guilty of wasting a good chance with eight minutes left, cutting in from the right and firing into the side netting, when a square ball to Dyer and Barnett would have been a better option

Durrell was starting to come into his own finally and was orchestrating the last few minutes of the game for the Pitmen. His brilliant ball in with three minutes left seemed to catch Goodhead unawares as the far post, as he failed to get a clean connection on his header when it looked as though he would head home

Some clever interplay on the edge of the box saw Barnett, Dyer and Durrell all combine, with Durrell firing narrowly wide of the far post with a low shot across goal

All in all, a very useful point for Hednesford, who are now handily placed for a run at the play-off places with a decent run. Now unbeaten in seven league games, and with a home double header against Clevedon and Oxford City to come in the next two games, things are starting to look up at long last for the Pitmen

Halesowen Town: Dussey, Smith (Connor 71), Morley, Eze, Hood, Breward (Griffiths 57), Johnson, Denny, Moore, Blenkinsopp (Agbor 57), Rickards        Subs Unused: Pearce, O'Brien

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Martin, Jagielka, Bailey, Goodhead, Durrell, Aiston, Barnett, Dyer ©, Horrocks        Subs Unused: Nisbett, Carvey, Chapman, Walker, Flynn

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