DMC Final 1L Yeltz 2 Crawley 1

15 April 2003

The gloss was taken off a late comeback victory in the League Cup Final when results elsewhere meant we're now 4 points from safety with only four games remaining.

Despite going behind midway through the second-half, our remarkable cup form continued with a late equaliser from Big Rich Leadbeater, and an even later own goal winner which sets up the second leg very nicely. However with Grantham and Hinckley winning, our fate is out of our own hands now even if we win Saturday's crucial game at The Grove against Grantham.

Saturday's fixtures include Hastings at Folkestone and Hednesford at Hinckley, so it's absolutely essential we take all three points. We really do have to do everything to encourage the team, so let's stay positive and roar the lads on to victory. Come On! Come On!

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Hateley; Colwell, Charlton (Hines 33), Smith, Stone, Trainer, Spencer, Gibson (Williams 66), Leadbeater, Danks, Master (Ashby 82). Unused Subs: B. Clarke, T. Clarke

Crawley Town: Little; Judge, Payne, Hooper, Pullan, Holmes, Harkin, Cooksey, McDonnell (Hockton 80), Bagnall (Taylor 80), Brake. Unused Subs: Le Bihan, Hemsley, Fear

Referee: R. Vaughan (Bristol) Attendance: 401 Booked: None Sponsors' Man of the Match: Gavin Stone

Halesowen turned the game on its head with two goals in the last three minutes to take a narrow advantage into the second leg of the cup final.

Even prior to the game Halesowen were the only unbeaten team left in the competition (work that one out!). The Yeltz elected to continue with the squad system of previous rounds but with Crawley playing their strongest team it was the visitors who won two corners in the 6th minute with Nic McDonnell heading just wide. Crawley goalkeeper Andy Little then raced off his line in the 16th minute with Mark Danks about to pounce on Phil Trainer's through ball.

In even exchanges Crawley's McDonnell headed Nigel Brake's cross straight at Halesowen goalkeeper Gary Hateley in the 22nd minute and five minutes later visiting defender Marc Pullan hoofed away a Danks cross from the right for a corner. Danks then rounded Little but was forced wide and he could only send over a weak cross. On the half-hour a Richard Colwell cross flicked off Ian Payne to land on the roof of Crawley's net. A minute before half-time Danks hit a 20-yard free-kick straight at Little and Richard Leadbeater turned Pullan but rolled the ball wide of goal.

Crawley stepped up the pace in the second half and in the 50th minute McDonnell blasted a 20-yard effort just behind Hateley's goal and then headed a cross straight at Hateley seconds later. Andy Spencer screwed a 55th minute corner from Les Hines behind the goal and at the other end Mo Harkin's shot deflected into the path of Warren Bagnall but he shot wide of the mark. Ellis Hooper then blasted a loose ball over the Halesowen bar after Hateley failed to gather cleanly but Crawley went on to take a 60th minute lead with BAGNALL converting Ben Judge's corner from close range at the far post.

With the Reds on top Hateley made a fine save as Stewart Holmes headed a Brake cross in the 63rd minute and seconds later Ernie Cooksey rattled the post with a powerful header from Harkin's corner. Hines was forced to concede a corner in the 73rd minute with McDonnell advancing on goal and Cooksey again headed on Judge's kick.

With Crawley seemingly heading to victory Lee Williams put fellow substitute Jason Ashby free only to see Little save with his feet but LEADBEATER levelled the scores by heading home the resulting 87th minute corner from Williams. Crawley were stunned when the Yeltz hit the winning goal of the first leg just a minute later when Leadbeater broke down the right and the unfortunate JUDGE could only turn the cross into his own net with Trainer advancing. With the 4th Official showing 3 minutes added time on the electronic scoreboard, Hateley touched away a late shot from substitute Jamie Taylor.

Despite the relieving diversion of Cup football, further wins on the evening by fellow relegation candidates Grantham and Hinckley proved of more concern to the already perilous league position.

The second leg takes place on Tuesday 29th April at the Broadfield Stadium, Crawley, kick-off 7.45pm.