Rugby 1 Yeltz 1

05 February 2005

We've certainly picked up a few extra points with late goals this season, and we gained another valuable point when a late Alex Cowley goal gave us a 1-1 draw away to Rugby (I think it's safest just to call them that at the moment). We're still in 3rd place , but with Chips and Ham winning again we're starting to fall behind top spot a little.

On Tuesday we go to Sutton Coldfield in the last 16 of the League Cup, before hosting Solihull in the League next Saturday.

Match Report from DJ

Rugby United: Payne; Moran, Williams, Hart, Pitham, Redgate (Commander 58), Hall, Dutton, Marsden (Gordon 88), Pearson, Melvin (Hegarty 77). Unused Subs: Evans, Shepherd

Halesowen Town: Taylor; Jones, Haywood (Amos 76), Preston, Pope, Skidmore, Cowley, Moore (Danks 76), Lamey, Baker, Forsdick. Unused Sub: Clarke

Referee: C. Henry (Rothwell) Attendance: 542

Alex Cowley rescued Halesowen with an equaliser two minutes into injury time.

Injury depleted Halesowen could only name three substitutes with on-loan 19-year old WBA midfielder Ross Clarke taking his place on bench with Jimmy Haarhoff taken ill in addition to long-term injuries to Ben Steane, Ian Cooper, Andy Spencer and Craig Strachan.

The game was marked by protests against United's proposed name change to Rugby Town with home fans pledging their allegiance to the former VS Rugby name. In a low-key start, Rugby's Justin Marsden flashed just wide in the 4th minute and Halesowen's Dave Haywood hit an 8th minute free-kick too close to home goalkeeper Mike Payne. Full back Gary Moran then blazed a 17th minute volley high over the bar following a free-kick from fellow full-back Jamie Williams.

Halesowen gained the upper hand mid-way through the first half with Cowley producing some tricky right-wing play to deliver a dangerous 21st minute cross, but Payne managed to punch clear. In the 23rd minute Steve Pope fed Simon Forsdick with Haywood's resulting volley blocked and Nathan Lamey's 20-yard shot was tipped over the bar for a corner by Payne a minute later.

The best chance of the first-half fell to the Yeltz in the 31st minute when Nicki Preston met Haywood's free-kick but his header struck the crossbar and Lewis Baker hit the rebound over the bar.

On 37 minutes a corner from Rugby's Williams was palmed away by visiting goalkeeper Chris Taylor with the following shot from Craig Dutton blocked and just before the interval Lamey almost met another fine Cowley cross at the far post. Dave Pearson stuck over Halesowen's bar at the start of the second half before Preston was denied again in the 53rd minute when Williams cleared off the line as Halesowen won two corners.

With little to choose between the two teams and few chances created, Rugby looked set for their fourth consecutive 0-0 home draw until they snatched a 68th minute lead. Haywood cleared a Williams corner off the line but Danny Hall played the ball back into the penalty area and PEARSON's back header looped over the head of goalkeeper Taylor into the net.

There remained little to choose between the teams with few further chances created although Halesowen's Pope had a good call for a penalty denied. Rugby substitute Jermaine Gordon almost increased the lead when he caught out Taylor by beating him to a long ball but the ball trickled past the post in the 89th minute.

But Cowley retrieved a point for Halesowen when his last-gasp corner led to a goalmouth scramble and the ball broke back out on the left of the area for COWLEY to drill home a sweet 15-yard shot into the top corner.