Merthyr 0 Yeltz 0

31 March 2001

With only Fisher winning out of the bottom five , three points would have put us right back in with a hope. However, it wasn't to be and sharing the points was of much more use to Merthyr as it was to us. As ever, more details can be found in the match reports .

Saturday brings Havant and Waterlooville to The Grove in another (but I really mean it this time) must win game. Havant have had so many games postponed that they're going to have real problems playing all their games before the end of the season - hopefully they'll already be getting weary by Saturday.

Match Report from DJ

Merthyr Tydfil: N. Thomas; Regan, King, Carter (Walker 84), Abraham (Elliott 18), Philpott, Needs, Price, Ryan, Perry, G.Thomas. Sub: Giles

Halesowen Town: Quy; Crisp, Burnham, Lloyd, Wood, Smith, Skidmore, Crawford, Sutton (Otto 65), Bailey, Hines. Subs: Spencer, Owen

Booked: G.Thomas (76) Referee: M. Gooding (Bristol) Attendance: 464

Under normal circumstances, Halesowen would be pleased with a creditable draw against a miserly Merthyr defence but in their current plight they need to be winning matches. However, new manager Brendan Phillips has instilled a sense of self-belief in his players and the message from Halesowen is that they will not be giving up their Premiership place without a fight.

Once again the team line-up showed a number of changes. James Ince was unavailable, Jon Ford was sent to watch Crawley Town play at Burton and Richard Walker sustained an injury in training on Friday.

Fresh from their shock victory over Cardiff City, Danny Carter beat the offside trap in the 4th minute for Merthyr but from his cross, Darren Ryan scooped the ball over the bar. Justin Perry then whipped in a speculative shot for Merthyr in the 8th minute that almost caught out goalkeeper Andy Quy after Richard Crisp had left a backpass to Wayne Lloyd fall short. Halesowen's best chance to sneak a win fell just three minutes later when Stuart Skidmore put over a right wing cross which Peter Sutton took down but then blasted straight at goalkeeper Neil Thomas from only five yards out. Thomas then dropped the ball under pressure from Sutton in the 29th minute. Halesowen soaked up some late first half pressure with Wayne Lloyd making some excellent headed clearances as Merthyr won five consecutive corners in the 32nd minute. From the fifth corner, Dean Philpott glanced his header wide.

Neither side were able to break the deadlock in the second period although Jason Burnham sent in a 25 yard shot in the 48th minute which Neil Thomas clung onto. Quy scrambled clear two Merthyr corners before Neil Smith tested Neil Thomas in the Merthyr goal again with a 20 yard effort in the 70th minute. Quy dropped Carter's cross in the 75th minute but his defence scrambled clear and at the other end there was a goalmouth scramble in the 76th minute as Merthyr tried to clear Ricky Otto's freekick. Merthyr substitute Keith Walker then saw his 84th minute cross clip the top of the crossbar but Halesowen held on to claim a point which may yet prove to be vital in their relegation battle.