Yeltz 0 Hednesford 1

14 December 2002

For the second week running we've been beaten by goals from a former favorite. After Rob Elmes's double last week, we lost 1-0 to old rivals Hednesford after a late winner from Steve Pie-arce. A disappointing result, and after the optimism of the last few weeks, we're hovering just above the relegation zone and in for a hard battle. Full details of the game in DJ's match report .

We're back in cup action on Tuesday, when Sutton Coldfield visit The Grove in the last 16 of the League Cup. They're 7th in the Midland Division, so let's hope we can carry on our good cup form at least.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Adamson; Colwell, Hines, Newall, Collins, Stone, Skidmore, Ashby, May, Shanahan, Trainer. Unused Subs: Leadbeater, Smith, Reece, Brennan, Garvey

Hednesford Town: Bingham; Williams, Ryder, Robinson, Brindley, Simkin, Wray (Charie 81), Adams, Piearce, Kiely (Francis 68), Small (Simpson 88). Unused Subs: Lancashire, Maguire

Referee: S. Smith (Matlock) Attendance: 512 Booked: Stone (82)

Hednesford completed the "double" over Halesowen with another late goal sending the Yeltz back into league trouble.

An early "Christmas Day" at The Grove brought carols, mulled wine and mince pies but there was little festive cheer on the pitch in a drab first-half with few goal-scoring opportunities. Instead it seemed Halesowen were set for a worrying Christmas after the evaporation of the November optimism.

Forced into a number of changes due to injury and suspension, Brendan Phillips named WBA reserve goalkeeper Chris Adamson and previously on-loan Aaron Shanahan on his team-sheet. With both defences well on top the opposite super strike-pair of Jason Ashby and Steve Piearce were kept quiet for most of the afternoon.

Adamson saw little action in a bleak opening spell which saw opposite number Michael Bingham collect a 13th minute left-wing cross from Les Hines. Phil Trainer then won a 19th minute corner that was easily cleared off the head of Leroy May, who was not 100% fit. For the visitors, Paul Kiely latched onto a poor clearance in the 14th minute and although Bryan Small fired home, the effort was flagged as disallowed for an offside decision several seconds earlier.

Chris Brindley fouled May on the edge of the area in the 32nd minute but Hines smacked the free-kick harmlessly against the defensive wall. A minute later Bingham grabbed an in-swinging Hines corner. In the 35th minute Shanahan lost possession but Stuart Ryder's shot was deflected away for a corner and then a long range Kiely shot fell desperately wide of the mark.

The final five minutes of the first-half saw some life at last when Ashby cleverly flicked-on for Trainer but he lost control in front of goal. The Pitmen then missed the best chance of the half in the 41st minute when Small headed back a right-wing cross into the path of Piearce but Adamson made a fine blocking save from just five yards. When the rebound fell to Ashley Williams it seemed the visitors were certain to score, but the full-back blasted high over an empty net. Jason Ashby then broke away at the other end and forced Bingham off his line before squaring for Shanahan to clip the Hednesford cross-bar.

Hednesford forced a couple of early chances in an otherwise lack-lustre second half with Small hitting against the Yeltz crossbar on 53 minutes and then Piearce forced Adamson to make a full-length save from his 20-yard shot a minute later. In the 56th minute May headed a Richard Colwell cross just wide of the mark with Ashby lurking at the far post and on the hour Ryder turned away a powerful May header for a corner. Stuart Skidmore lobbed a 66th minute volley into the arms of goalkeeper Bingham and on 73 minutes Shanahan tried to chip in from an acute angle.

After a flurry of Hednesford substitutes and with the game drifting towards a deserved goal-less stalemate, Halesowen's miserable afternoon was completed three minutes from time. For the second week in a row, a former striker caused the damage when Steve PIEARCE cracked home from 15 yards into the bottom corner after Carl Adams eventually found space in the Halesowen rear-guard.