GRINDING IT OUT
Bedworth 0 Yeltz 1
21 February 2004
The mighty Yeltz kept themselves in the title race on Saturday with a crucial 1-0 victory away to struggling Bedworth. A second-half goal from Simon Hollis kept us in touch with leaders Redditch, who came back from two down to beat second placed Rugby 3-2.
This week brings another set of away games - on Tuesday we travel to Shepshed, and then on Saturday we visit old rivals Rugby. Both games are very important, and if we can gain six points then I think we've really got a chance of challenging at the top. Come on!
Match Report from DJ
Bedworth Utd: Hateley; Blair (Scott 80), O'Sullivan, Stevenson, Richardson, K. Smith (Goodman 72), Massingham, S. Hadland, Wood, G. Hadland (Rhodes 54), Blake. Unused Subs: Olanipekun, Dodd
Halesowen Town: Sheils; Hollis, Carter, Grocutt (Forsdick HT), Jones, Hoyle, Spencer (Skidmore 12), Ashby, Ball, Steane, Baker. Unused Subs: N. Smith, Strachan
Referee: J. Hubbard (Leicester) Attendance: 241
Halesowen did just enough to pick up three important three points in a physical game of few chances. The game had extra spice with former Halesowen centre forward Mark Hallam now managing the Greenbacks and on a tricky playing surface the game turned into a midfield battle.
The visitors suffered a 9th minute blow when in-form Andy Spencer was stretchered off with a leg injury. Two minutes later a through ball from Jason Ashby - now to be known as Jason Moore following a name change by deed-poll - almost found Simon Hollis but Gary Hateley raced off his line to save.
Hollis then hit a 25-yard free-kick wide on 19 minutes and at the other end opposite goalkeeper Mark Sheils easily collected Guy Hadland's free-kick a minute later.
Referee Hubbard caused controversy on 22 minutes in charge of his last ever Southern League game when he stopped play for a minor midfield injury. In the meantime, Richard Ball had broken free from midfield to be clear on goal and was about to hit the target when the whistle blew. Play then resumed with a drop-kick from goalkeeper Hateley half-way inside his own half.
Bedworth's best chance fell in the 35th minute when James Wood latched onto a loose ball but Sheils produced a reflex save to turn the ball over the bar for a corner. Ashby then broke clear for the Yeltz on 43 minutes but ballooned the ball over the bar from 8 yards out. Seconds before the interval Bedworth's Marvin Blake blasted high as the hosts won two corners.
The second half continued to be a dour struggle although Ben Steane made a fine run from midfield in the 49th minute before being beaten by a combination of the pitch and a packed defence. Ashby curled wide on 56 minutes and on the hour Hateley saved at the feet of Hollis from Richard Ball's pass.
Halesowen finally broke the deadlock in the 74th minute when HOLLIS was first to the ball in the Bedworth area and rolled the ball past Hateley from close range to notch the winning goal. With six minutes remaining Sheils grabbed a deep free-kick from Darren Massingham at the second attempt and in the final minute Steane was brought down on the edge of the Bedworth penalty area but Alfie Carter struck the free-kick straight at Hateley.