Yeltz 3 Chippenham 2

03 May 2003

The table never lies. Despite coming back from behind to beat Chippenham 3-2 we were always up against it, and congratulations to Grantham for beating Moor Green making them safe and putting us back in the Western Division again.

We went one down early on, came back through a Stone scramble, went behind again, but came back brilliantly through a Big Rich scorcher and a Les penalty. However with regular reports coming through from Grantham we knew it was all over, on goal difference from Cambridge in the end.

We can all think of games where we might have gained just one more point (Hastings away, Folkestone away?), but we were poor for long periods of the season and got what we deserved. I'm not sure where we go from here, but we're going to have to regroup again, and hope we can have another successful season in a poor league. With the pyramid restructuring it could take us some time to get back to a decent level, but we've only ourselves to blame for that.

Obviously the site will still be running through the summer, so as soon as I hear any news on anything I'll post it here or in YeltzTalk . Have as jolly a summer as you can looking forward to the delights of the Western Division. Hurrah!

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Hateley; Colwell, Hines, Smith (Leadbeater 61), Collins, Stone, Williams, Ashby, Danks, Gibson (Spencer 52), Skidmore. Unused Subs: Trainer, Master, Garvey

Chippenham Town: Bittner; Charity, Thorne, Towler, Davies, Badman, Harrington (Kear 89), Horgan, Mings (Walker 64), Paul, Griffin. Unused Subs: Andrews, Elsey, Bull

Referee: R. Shoebridge (Belper) Booked: Horgan (86) Attendance: 730

There was no minor miracle or great escape at the Grove despite Halesowen mounting a fine comeback to defeat Chippenham for the third time this season.

The two promoted teams from 2002/2002 experienced vastly differing fortunes over the season and Halesowen's win was not enough to prevent last season's champions suffering their 2nd relegation in three years back to the Western Division. With Grantham thumping four goals past Moor Green the Yeltz were unable to catch any of their rivals and drop out of the league with one of the highest totals in history.

Chippenham started strongly against their nervous hosts with Martin Paul striking wide in the 5th minute and Gary Horgan turning to hit a half-volley past the post on 14 minutes. Halesowen skipper Lee Collins was then on hand in the 22nd minute to clear up defensive confusion.

The game sparked to life in the 24th minute when Mark Badman picked up the ball and threw it into the face of Neil Gibson who had committed a foul. A mass brawl followed but remarkably the referee only spoke to Stuart Skidmore and Gary Horgan and let off the culprits without any kind of warning. The break in play caught out Halesowen and Adie Mings headed Chippenham ahead with a simple 10-yard header directly from Charlie Griffin's resulting 26th minute free-kick.

Halesowen's first real attempt on target came in the 28th minute when goalkeeper James Bittner parried away a shot from Jason Ashby and a minute later Gavin Stone powered in a header from a Lee Williams corner. Home goalkeeper Gary Hateley spilled a 33rd minute shot by Simon Charity from 20-yards but Collins tidied up again with Chippenham continuing to chase hard for third place in the league.

Halesowen levelled in the 39th minute when a corner from Lee Williams was headed across goal by Collins for Gavin Stone to head home from close range despite Charity trying to clear off the line. Just before the break Les Hines saw a curling free-kick collected by Bittner and the Chippenham defence cleared an Ashby header from a Les Hines free-kick.

The home side played with more urgency in the second period and Chippenham appeared to take their foot off the pedal. Mark Danks blasted high in the 51st minute and three minutes later a Williams free-kick came back out for Skidmore to drive over the bar from 25-yards out. Another Skidmore shot was deflected for Bittner to collect in the 59th minute and Danks curled past the post on the hour. Bittner then rescued Chippenham in the 62nd minute by clawing a header from substitute Andy Spencer around the post after Stone put in a cross from another Hines free-kick. With the hosts looking lively, home player-of-the-season Richard Colwell surged from midfield but Bittner dived down low to save well from Danks in the 69th minute.

Chippenham regained the lead in the 70th minute when a through ball found Griffin free on the right and Paul followed up to head home on the goal-line after Hateley partly saved Griffin's shot. Griffin found himself free again three minutes later when Stone lost the ball but he blasted wide from 10 yards out.

The plucky Yeltz produced a rousing finish with two goals in the last ten minutes defeating Chippenham. Substitute Richard Leadbeater chased a long ball in the 80th minute and when the ball broke kindly he lashed into the roof of the net to equalise a second time. A shot from Williams was then blocked by Walker in the 85th minute but Halesowen's brave fight-back was completed with the winning goal arriving four minutes from time when Griffin was penalised for pushing Danks in the penalty area. Hines stepped up to hit home the penalty to Bittner's left but Halesowen were soon to learn that their win was to no avail as they still finished in the fourth relegation spot on goal difference from Cambridge City.