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Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

McSweeney (59)

Halesowen Town

Haarhoff (18), Haywood (75)

(0) 1

(1) 2



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David Berks



Bedford Town (H) 21.8.04

Hednesford were once again hit for a quick one-two for the second time in three days this evening as local rivals Halesowen Town scored in both halves to win tonight's Keys Park clash


Chris Brindley made two changes to the side that had been defeated by Hitchin Town on the opening day of the season, one of which was enforced as Craig Dean was ruled out due to injury and was replaced by Grant Beckett at left-back. The other change saw Brindley dropping himself in favour of Lee Barrow at centre-back

Halesowen - promoted back to step three in the summer after a spell at step four - had started their campaign with a 3-1 win against Aylesbury United at the weekend, with manager Paul Holleran making one change to his side for tonight's game as Daniel Jones came in for the experienced Steve Pope

The Pitmen made an assertive start to this evening's proceedings and nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute; David Berks - making his second home debut for the club - swung in a fine corner kick that was turned towards his own goal by Niki Preston, under pressure from Barrow. Fortunately for the Yeltz, Asa Charlton was alert to the danger and hacked the ball clear

Three minutes later, good play from Lee Williams saw the midfielder turn past Lewis Baker and supply the ball to Damien Charie, whose subsequent ball to Leon McSweeney was cut out by a late tackle from Preston as the Irishman ran past him and into the penalty area


Halesowen's first chance of the evening came in the eleventh minute through Alex Cowley's free-kick on the left; his pinpoint cross was met by the head of young defender Jones, who saw his looping header clear the crossbar from ten yards out

A minute later, home debutant Williams saw his game ended suddenly as he was forced off with a leg injury. He was replaced by Danny McGhee, which saw a slight tweaking of the formation to allow for the winger's appearance as Chris Gray moved into the centre of midfield

In the fifteenth minute, Yeltz striker Jimmy Haarhoff streaked past Richard Teesdale as he got on the end of a threaded pass from Ben Steane, but shot wide of goal with a rushed first-time effort from eighteen yards out

Haarhoff made his next chance count however three minutes later as he handed the visitors the lead; Cowley clipped a ball into the penalty area from the right and found the former Birmingham City man, who took advantage of some slack Hednesford defending to confidently fore low past Young from twelve yards out

Berks's delivery from set-pieces appeared to be the Pitmen's best hope of getting themselves back into the game, with another looping corner kick on twenty-two minutes headed over the crossbar by the incoming Teesdale

Three minutes later a free-kick from Berks was flicked on at the near post by Chris Gray and into the path of McSweeney, whose weak follow-up header drifted wide of Mark Sheils' far post

Halesowen goalkeeper Sheils watched the Pitmen waste another good chance from close-range on twenty-seven minutes as Berks's fine corner kick was met by Gray once more, who headed narrowly over the crossbar from eight yards out under pressure from Preston

The Yeltz almost caught the Pitmen on the counter-attack after Berks's corner kick was cleared two minutes later as Haarhoff took the ball off down the right. He got past Beckett and played the ball into the path of Lewis Baker, who took a heavy touch and allowed Young to gather the loose ball

Teesdale went close for the Pitmen on his home debut on twenty-nine minutes as he met a Gray cross from the left but glanced his effort over the crossbar

Sheils had to mop up a mistake from Ian Cooper on thirty-five minutes as he managed to clear a short backpass from the full-back ahead of Charie, who looked to take the ball away from the stopper

Halesowen's Jason Moore could have doubled the away side's tally on thirty-eight minutes as he made a run deep into the Hednesford half and drove a shot from twenty yards out at goal, only for Teesdale to deflect the ball wide of goal

Two minutes before the interval, McSweeney made a late run in behind the static Halesowen defence but saw his half-volley well saved by Sheils as he parried the shot away from goal

It had been a frustrating first period from the hosts, who had played some good football but had been wasteful in front of goal once more having only forced Sheils into one save in forty-five minutes

The Pitmen emerged the brighter of the two sides at the start of the second half, with McSweeney proving a tricky customer for the Halesowen defence with his movement. A fine run through the Yeltz back line on fifty-one minutes saw him get on the end of a pass from Carl Palmer, only to drove his low left-footed effort wide of goal

Three minutes later, Beckett's long, raking cross-field ball found McGhee, who turned past Dave Haywood and got to the byeline before pulling the ball back to Charie; his weak, bobbling effort was easily claimed by Sheils


McSweeney got the Pitmen back on level terms with his second goal of the season just before the hour mark; Charie broke through the flimsy-looking Halesowen defence and got on the end of Palmer's pass before firing in an angled shot that Sheils fumbled, leaving McSweeney to gleefully tap home into an empty net as he followed the ball into the six-yard box


Gray could have turned the game in its head three minutes later as he curled in a left-footed free-kick from the corner of the Halesowen penalty area that narrowly cleared the crossbar

Referee Mr Hine suddenly became a busy man as he brandished several yellow cards at players from both sides in a three-minute spell; Baker was booked for a foul on Gray which prompted a bout of pushing and shoving amongst the players. Gray was also booked for his reaction to the foul despite winning the free-kick

A minute later, Preston and McGhee had a coming together down the right flank and both players took out their frustrations on each other which saw the pair both booked

A minute later, Jones was the fifth player in quick succession to receive a booking as he floored McSweeney thirty yards from goal to stop the striker from getting away from him

Berks lifted another free-kick over the Halesowen wall on seventy-one minutes as he struck a powerful shot at goal that was a couple of yards wide of Sheils' right-hand post


It was the Yeltz, however, that re-established their lead on seventy-five minutes as Haywood took a free-kick out on the right from twenty-five yards out and floated in a ball that appeared to take a slight nick off Barrow and beat Youg at his far post. A soft goal for the host to concede

Back came the Pitmen with another flurry of Berks set-pieces, showing more and more urgency as the game moved into its final stages. Steve Anthrobus was thrown on to add his significant aerial presence with thirteen minutes remaining as he replaced right-back Alex Gibson

The big man almost made an immediate mark two minutes later as he saw his goalbound header from Gray's cross diverted just wide of the post by Cowley as the Pitmen pressed

At the other end, Haarhoff's pace was once again proving to be difficult to cope with for the Pitmen as streaked away from Teesdale on eighty minutes, only to be denied a clear sight at goal by a timely interception from Beckett

With seven minutes remaining, Brindley brought himself on to add even more of an aerial threat, playing up front alongside Charie, McSweeney and Anthrobus as he replaced the tiring Palmer

Berks sent over a fine corner kick with four minutes remaining that Anthrobus met with a full-blooded header, only to see his goalbound effort take a double deflection wide of the far post

Brindley met Gray's cross at the near post on eighty-eight minutes and glanced it towards goal and into the path of Charie, only for Cowley to smuggle the ball away from danger

In added time, both Gray and Berks tried their luck from the edge of the penalty area as countless blue shirts threw themselves in front of the ball in a desperate bid to protect their lead

Despite the late pressure from the hosts, who spent most of the final ten minutes camped inside the Yeltiz third of the pitch, Halesowen held on to record their second win of the season and condemn the Pitmen to back-to-back defeats. They will once again be ruing their wasted opportunities in front of goal and looked short of a real poacher who would have had a field day this evening. Saturday sees the Pitmen hosting Bedford Town at Keys Park as they go in search of that elusive first win of the campaign

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson (Anthrobus 77), Beckett, Barrow, Teesdale, Williams (McGhee 12 ), Gray , Palmer © (Brindley 83), Charie, McSweeney, Berks      Subs Unused: Adams, Evans

Halesowen Town: Sheils, Cooper, Haywood, Preston , Jones , Charlton, Cowley, Moore, Haarhoff (Grocutt 81), Baker ▆ (Forsdick 84), Steane (Skidmore 60)       Subs Unused: Burgess, Strachan

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