Yeltz 2 Hemel Hempstead 0

01 February 2005

The closeness of the league was confirmed last night when a 2-0 victory over Hemel Hempstead moved us back into the play off places in 3rd place . Goals from The Pope and Nathan in either half clinched the points.

Unfortunately Ben Steane broke a tibia in the game, so looks like he could be out for some time. Ben had just recovered from a long term injury and was getting back into good form, so let's hope for a speedy recovery.

Saturday takes us to Rugby to take our old rivals, who aren't in great form (but beat Aylesbury last week). It's a bit sad I guess, but I STILL feel upset about how they beat us in the Vase Final over 20 years ago now(!), so I really hope we can beat them to maintain our position near the top.

Also a couple of fixtures have been confirmed: the League Cup game at Sutton is now on Tuesday 8th Feb, kick off 7.30, and Redditch in the Worcs Senior Cup Semi Final is away on Feb 22nd - winners meet the mighty Studley in the final!! (quote from DJ)

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Taylor; Jones, Haywood, Preston, Pope, I. Cooper (Cowley 15), Steane (Skidmore 27), Haarhoff (Moore 80), Lamey, Baker, Forsdick. Unused Subs: Amos, Danks

Hemel Hempstead: Peat; Neale, Fontonelle, Kelly, G. Cooper, Corbould, Beevor, Midson, Carney (Allen 83), Harding, Fowler (Hammatt 66). Unused Subs: Green, Theodosiou, Lovell

Referee: S. Snartt (Bristol) Attendance: 283 Booked: Preston (20), Fowler (45), Pope (57), Fontonelle (57), Carney (78) Sponsors' Man of the Match: Simon Forsdick

Halesowen moved back into third place after overcoming hard-working Hemel Hempstead in a far from pretty encounter.

A very ordinary first half was marred by two serious Halesowen injuries with the unlucky Ben Steane taken to a Coventry hospital with a confirmed broken tibia.

Relegation threatened Hemel made a lively start pushing forward at a swift pace on their first ever visit to the Grove and goalkeeper Chris Taylor had to redeem himself by collecting a 15th minute corner after failing to collect the initial cross.

Ian Cooper was stretchered off in the 15th minute with a twisted knee injury and on 25 minutes Steane's free-kick was collected by Hemel goalkeeper Martin Peat. Steane looked to be back to his creative best after earning a place in the starting line-up, but fate dealt a cruel 27th minute blow when he was also stretchered off to be back in plaster only weeks after recovering from a broken foot.

The visitors continued to make life difficult for the Yeltz, who wasted two corners in the 32nd minute, and on 40 minutes Grant Carney glanced the top of the bar with a right-wing cross.

Halesowen were presented with their much-needed breakthrough when George Fowler brought down Steve Pope in the penalty area in the fifth minute of first-half added time. Pope's penalty kick was blocked by Peat but captain POPE calmly controlled the rebound to fire home his 16th goal of the season. Jimmy Haarhoff then turned on the edge of the area but his shot flew just wide with the clock showing 52 minutes of the opening half.

Pope flashed a header just over the bar from Dave Haywood's cross five minutes into the second period but two minutes later an up-and-under from Hemel's Jack Midson was volleyed just over the bar by Dean Harding. Stuart Beevor's 55th minute free-kick from 25-yards was then collected at the second attempt by Taylor in the Halesowen goal.

Halesowen added a second goal on 56 minutes when Lewis Baker advanced from midfield and drew the visiting defence before seeing his shot parried away by Peat, but Nathan LAMEY was on hand to convert the rebound from six yards. Peat saved a good 59th minute strike from Forsdick after the ball broke from a corner and after Hemel won two corners on the hour, Lamey and Forsdick both went close with 65th minute headers from Alex Cowley's cross.

Anthony Fontonelle missed a good chance to pull a goal back in the 75th minute but he hit just over the bar after being set free by Grant Carney. With two minutes remaining, Baker hooked the ball over the Hemel bar when Peat missed his punch and in another seven minutes of added time in the second half substitute Bryan Hammatt headed just wide for the visitors.