Sutton Coldfield 2 Yeltz 0

21 August 2001

After Saturday's uplifting victory, us long suffering Yeltz fans were forced back to reality with a very disappointing 2-0 loss at last year's strugglers Sutton Coldfield. Two late goals, the second from ex-Yeltz player Mark Bellingham ended what was by all accounts a poor game on a poor pitch. This season suddenly doesn't look so attractive. Ho hum.

Saturday takes us down to Chippenham Town, where hopefully we can get back to winning ways.

Match Report from DJ

Sutton Coldfield: Alden; Jones, Reece, Steele(c), Farmer, Bailey, Whitehouse, Moran, Mitchell, Bellingham, Gardner. Subs: Randall, Walker, Baker.

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham, N. Smith, L. Collins, Gray, Hall, Giddings, May, Taylor, Crawford. Subs: Spencer, G. Smith, Hines.

Referee: P.J. Keane (Wolverhampton)

Halesowen received a rude wake-up call against a Sutton side who finished third bottom last term but dug deep and battled away to register an unlikely win thanks to two late goals.

Coles Lane appears to have changed little in the eleven years that have elapsed since last hosting the Yeltz in a league game and although the match programme noted recent pitch improvements, the surface was still below what we have come to expect on our travels. Yet these are the sort of games where Halesowen need to turn possession and silky skills into points if they are to be challenging for honours next Spring.

Sutton's Dominic Reece hit just over as early as the 4th minute, but very little was then seen of the home side in a game Halesowen should have wrapped up well before half-time. Leroy May headed Matty Hall's cross over in the 7th minute and Saturday's hero Kerry Giddings turned to bring a fine save out of ex-Stourbridge goalkeeper Darren Alden after 39 minutes.

Alden had an entirely average season between the sticks at Stourbridge last term but was on tip-top form as Halesowen sought out a winner in the second period. Tipping over Mark Taylor's goalbound shot in the 50th minute he then produced another top-drawer save from Michael Gray on the hour.

Tim Clarke saved well when Nathan Moran broke clear in the 54th minute, but with the Royals suffering injury, cramp and tiredness late on, the Yeltz failed to take advantage and as time went on a scoreless draw seemed the most likely outcome.

To their credit, the Royals battled away before pouncing in the final five minutes as Halesowen's midfield caved in. Even so, Sutton's 86th minute opener was a bad goal to concede. Halesowen lost the ball deep in Sutton's half and a long ball forward caught out the Yeltz defence. With Clarke initially in two minds he came, but did not get, allowing Leon Mitchell to beat him to the ball and calmly slot into an open goal.

Ex-Halesowen striker and Copper Mark Bellingham arrested any lingering Halesowen hope deep in injury time when he turned on the edge of the box and fired low into the bottom corner. Manager Brendan Phillips was clearly heard venting his frustration at his players in the centre-circle in the after-match warm-down.