Stamford 1 Yeltz 2

19 February 2005

Everyone else had won at Stamford recently, so it was an important three points gained on Saturday when the indomitable Yeltz came back from behind to win 2-1 on a bitterly cold day.

They scored first early on with the wind helping, but we equalised soon after after their keeper failed to clear a cross and The Pope poked it in. They were pretty poor to be honest, but the cold weather and muddy pitch levelled things up for quite a while. We had a few chances, but once we'd took the lead after a decent move led to my man of the match Dave Haywood firing in a low cross-shot that the defender deflected in, we looked comfortable in holding the lead.

Most of the top teams also won, so we're still solidly in third place in the table.

Next Saturday is a crucial home game against second placed Bedford, but before that is the Worcester Senior SemiFinal at Redditch. With both teams battling for promotion it definitely not the highest priority for either of us, but with only Studley awaiting in the final it would be nice to gain our usual victory over them!

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Taylor; Jones, Haywood, Preston, Pope (c), Skidmore, Cowley (Smith 82), Haarhoff (Moore 80), Lamey, Amos (Baker 55), Forsdick. Unused Sub: Cooper

Attendance: 290 Referee: Mike Cairns (Northampton)

Halesowen professionally overcame basement side Stamford with an assured performance to keep well in touch with top spot and five points into a play-off position.

However, the afternoon started badly for the Yeltz as they fell behind in just the 4th minute when Kevin SLINN chased a long ball and held off central defenders Steve Pope and Nicki Preston before beating Chris Taylor. But before Stamford could settle into their stride, Halesowen levelled when good work from Nathan Lamey led to a corner-kick from Dave Haywood and leading goalscorer Pope converted the loose ball on the half volley.

From that point on Stamford rarely threatened although a Danny Steadman header crept just wide of the post in the 36th minute. A minute later a great shot by Lamey was turned over the bar by Stamford goalkeeper Darren Watts.

The second half belonged firmly to Halesowen in an impressive display of attacking football, and it was surprising they only had the one goal to show for their efforts. Lamey twice went close to notching the goal he richly deserved, and Pope sent a trademark free kick just wide of the post on the hour. Man of the match Lamey eventually provided the winner on 65 minutes, when he cleverly directed the ball over his head into the path of Haywood and his shot struck Delroy GORDON before hitting the back of the net. Two minutes later, an Alex Cowley shot hit the bar and in the dying minutes substitute Nick Smith went close when he beat the defence but shot at the keeper.