I stopped keeping this site up-to-date many years ago, so if you've ended up here I'm afraid there's nothing much of interest to see any more.

Other Halesowen Town websites:

21st Century Stuff

I made a Yeltzland app for iPhone/iPad and Android, which lets you read all about the Yeltz in one place.

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

You can also add the Yeltz fixture list into your calendar - instructions can be found here.

News Stories 1997-2006 ...

Follow Your Instinct

Even older than the original Yeltzland website, we wrote a HTFC fanzine between 1991 and 1994.

I've started scanning in the originals, and you can download the PDFs from the FYI home page.

Review of the 1995-96 season

Re-live one of the greatest seasons of the mighty Yeltz's long history in DJ's comprehensive review

Why are we called The Yeltz?

No one knows for sure, but here's an summary from the excellent Yeltzmen book that's the best explanation we have!




Friendly Oldbury 0 Yeltz 1

The pre-season warm-ups continue with a 1-0 victory against local rivals Oldbury, the goal coming in the first-half from Kelvin Phillips.

Saturday brings Stafford Rangers to The Grove, followed by a trip to Studley in the week. Not too long now.

Haven't had much interest in voting for the new Hall of Fame , so if you do have 5 minutes please make your selections.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Harris; Stuart Skidmore (March 65), Small, Sewell (Charlton 70), Josh Skidmore (Smith HT), Baker (Colwell HT), Michael Hollis (Simon Hollis HT), Ashby (Hallam HT), Phillips, Trainer, Kavanagh.

Kelvin Phillips hit the Halesowen winner from close range early in the first half. Oldbury turned into the net off goalkeeper Matt Harris in the 40th minute but the effort was disallowed for offside.

In the second period Bryan Small's shot fell inches wide in the 55th minute. Late in the game Richard Kavanagh and Simon Hollis also put long shots just wide of the mark.




Friendly Yeltz 1 B'ham City 2

Another reasonable performance in a pre-season friendly, this time a 2-1 loss against a Birmingham City XI managed by ex-yeltz boss Stewart Hall. As usual, full details in DJ's match report .

Next game is at Oldbury on Thursday, which should be a cracker :-)

I've been doing a few bits of housekeeping on the site over the summer, and have a few things to come over the next few months. However two things I'd like to point out are these. This season's election for the Yeltz Hall of Fame is now open. Also, Fantasy Island is ready to go with the start of the league games, so you can start entering your predictions in for any games that are within the next month.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Harris; Colwell, Charlton, Kavanagh (Trainer 55), Smith (J. Skidmore HT), Grocutt (Small HT), Hollis (Wray HT), Mitchell (Phillips HT), Hallam (Ashby HT), Blake (Spencer 55), March. Sub: Gayle

Birmingham City XI: Dormand; Cotterill, Vaughan, Painter, Arrowsmith, Alsop, Till, Allen, Fagan, Borrowman, Motteram. Subs: Longthorn, Bagnall, Sheppard, O'Brian, Birley, Parratt

Referee: A. Mariner

Ex-Halesowen manager Stewart Hall brought his pacy youngsters to the Grove but it was Halesowen's Leon Mitchell who hit inches wide in the 4th minute after turning defender Lee Vaughan with a clever back-heel. Mark Hallam's header then produced a reflex save from James Dormond in the 10th minute.

City went ahead after 21 minutes through Andy Borrowman who slotted into an empty net when young goalkeeper Matt Harris raced off his line but completely missed his attempted headed clearance of a long ball. With the visitors on top, Craig Fagan struck the side-netting from a good position on the half-hour before Peter Till lashed home a second goal in the 44th minute as Halesowen's defence failed to clear a corner.

Borrowman then hit the underside of the Halesowen bar from 5 yards straight after the break and Richard Colwell made a timely clearance from Fagan in the 73rd minute.

Jason Ashby pulled a goal back with a simple tap-in after 76 minutes when goalkeeper Dormond dropped a Jamie March cross and four minutes later Andy Spencer cracked just wide as Halesowen finished more strongly.




Friendly Yeltz 1 Alfreton 1

Here we go again. I think I say this every year, but this is a crucial season for the mighty Yeltz . After last year's relegation I think it may have worked for the best, now we know if we win the league we can get into one of the new Conference Division Ones. It's not going to be as easy as two years ago, but we've definitely got lots to play for.

There's been a large turnover of players - probably rightly so after last season - and the squad should become a little clearer as we embark on a set of friendlies. Yesterday brought the first of those, resulting in a 1-1 draw against Alfreton our goal coming from new bloke Leon Mitchell . More details in DJ's match report .

We've got two more games this week: Birmingham City come to The Grove on Monday, and then we visit Oldbury on Thursday evening.

I've been doing a few bits of housekeeping on the site over the summer, and have a few things to come over the next few months. However two things I'd like to point out are these. This season's election for the Yeltz Hall of Fame is now open. Also, Fantasy Island is ready to go with the start of the league games, so you can start entering your predictions in for any games that are within the next month.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town (First Half): Gayle; Colwell, Small, Baker, Sewell, Grocutt, Hollis, Spencer, Hallam, Ashby, March

Halesowen Town (Second Half): Harris; Clarke, Charlton, Smith, J. Skidmore, Blake, Wray, Kavanagh, Mitchell, Phillips, Trainer

Alfreton Town: Butler; Circuit, Grayston, Cotterill, Brown, Knapper, Dolby, Robinson, Askey, Nawadike, Hemmings

Referee: T. Parkes (Birmingham)

Halesowen opened their pre-season with a pleasing draw against newly promoted Unibond Premier big spenders Alfreton Town in a re-match of January's FA Trophy clash.

The hosts had the slightly better first half with ex-Tamworth striker Mark Hallam heading just wide from fellow new-boy Lewis Baker in the 4th minute. Jason Ashby then linked-up with Hallam in the 21st minute before hitting his effort wide. Other new summer signings Darren Grocutt, Simon Hollis and Jamie March also caught the eye in the first period with a 38th minute cross from March headed across goal by Hollis.

Halesowen ran the rule over a number of possibles by naming a completely different line-up for the second half and they took a 54th minute lead when manager's son Kelvin Phillips split the Alfreton defence allowing ex-Sutton Coldfield striker Leon Mitchell to convert from 12 yards. Young home goalkeeper Matt Harris saved acrobatically from the unmarked Ian Robinson just after the hour before the visitors equalised through the experienced Tony Hemmings from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after a handball just inside the Halesowen area.

Alfreton goalkeeper Lee Butler denied Phillips twice in the 75th minute and on-trial central defender Josh Skidmore kept Alfreton's strong forward line at bay at the opposite end, although Ian Robinson hit a 20-yard drive inches wide of the mark in the 87th minute.




It's been pretty quiet so far - it is only June after all - but there's been quite a few players let go from the squad that got us relegated last year.

I believe the following players not been resigned: Lee Collins, Les Hines, Gavin Stone, Richard Leadbeater,Tim Clarke, Neil Gibson, Gary Bauress, Mark Danks, Michael Blackwood, Lee Williams, Kirk Master.

Signed so far: Mark Hallam , a forward from Tamworth and Lee Knight back from Redditch with a lot more to come (otherwise we've only got about 9 players). More news on YeltzTalk as people find out about it.

According to Chas, the pre-season friendlies announced so far are Alfreton h July 19, Hednesford h Aug 5th, Willenhall a Aug 9th plus Bradford City, Blues, Oldbury no dates asy yet. Again, more when things have been confirmed.

On the pyramid reorganisation, it will all be ratified on June 20th, but it looks at the moment like the top 7 of the Western Divison will help make up the new Southern Premier the season after, which you would really hope we can do. Could be a bit of a dull season ahead though.




Yeltz 3 Chippenham 2

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.




DMC Final 2L Crawley 2 Yeltz 0 (3-2 Agg.)

We gave it a good go, but in the end it was probably fair enough we lost the League Cup Final by losing 2-0 to Crawley in the second leg.

Once they'd scored early on we were behind on away goals and struggling, but when two down in the second half we almost took it to extra-time when Danks hit the bar, and a fantastic scramble led to Kirk blazing over. Still it's probably a good job we saved some energy for Saturday's massive game.

Just to remind you: we'll stay up if we beat Chippenham at The Grove and Grantham lose at home to Moor Green, or if they draw we need to win by three goals.

Bring all your mates, everyone you know and let's get right behind the lads for 90 minutes to do our part of the equation. Can't do anything about the other game but let's hope Moor Green come up trumps. Come On! Come On!

Match Report from DJ

Crawley Town: Little; Holmes, Payne, Hooper, Pullan, Le Bihan, Harkin, Cooksey, McDonnell (Hockton 74), Bagnall, Brake. Unused Subs: Matten, Vines, Hemsley, Timlin

Halesowen Town: Hateley; Colwell, Hines, Stone, Collins, Trainer, Williams (Master 68), Ashby (Leadbeater 62), Danks, Blackwood (Skidmore HT), Spencer. Unused Subs: Smith, Clarke

Referee: R. Vaughan (Bristol) Attendance: 1049 Booked: Brake(64), Stone(70)

Halesowen's brave League Cup run finally ended at the Broadfield Stadium although they can have no real complaints about missing out on their second piece of silverware of the season by the odd goal of five on aggregate.

With a slender one-goal advantage from the first leg Halesowen went close in the 9th minute when Gavin Stone headed a Les Hines cross off the ground onto the underside of the crossbar with the Crawley defence blocking Jason Ashby's volley from the rebound. The home side took the lead to level the aggregate score after just 12 minutes when Hines lost the ball allowing Warren Bagnall to cross and Mo Harkin to pull the ball back for Nigel BRAKE to crash the ball into the net from 6 yards.

Mark Danks poked the ball at goalkeeper Andy Little from 5 yards in the 20th minute from a good move between Lee Williams and Andy Spencer but the home side then enjoyed their best spell of pressure with Halesowen weathering the storm until the half-time whistle. Nic McDonnell's 21st minute penalty appeal was turned down after he fell in the box under challenge from Richard Colwell and on 39 minutes McDonnell crossed from the left for Bagnall to head straight at Gary Hateley. With Halesowen's defence exposed Collins let in Harkin to cross from the left a minute later but the ball evaded the Crawley strike-force and fell into safety. Hateley then raced off his line in the 41st minute to clear from Neil Le Bihan but conceded a corner from which Le Bihan struck the top of the bar. A minute before half-time McDonnell hit a half-volley just over the Halesowen bar.

Five minutes into the second period Brake burst from the centre of midfield and was eventually denied by Stone. Crawley hit the cup-winning goal after 54 minutes when a long free-kick was headed on for McDONNELL with plenty of space and time to bury the ball past Hateley from 8 yards. Ernie Cooksey hit a 58th minute volley wide from 30 yards and seven minutes later Stone headed a free clearance in the Halesowen defence at McDonnell but the striker screwed his good chance wide.

With Halesowen looking jaded Hateley raced off his line to clear from substitute Danny Hockton on 76 minutes but a minute later Halesowen's best chance of the half fell to Danks who latched onto the long clearance from Hateley but his shot struck the Crawley bar. On 90 minutes substitute Kirk Master was put through on the right but blasted high. The 4th official found 5 minutes of added time in which Little collected a Collins header from Stone's long throw and at the death McDonnell skied the ball high over the bar on the break from a good position at the other end.




Folkestone 2 Yeltz 2

Well it's all going down to the last game, but it's not looking great. Failure to beat Folkestone means we're very close to being relegated for the second time in three seasons.

It was a very disappointing game - see DJ's report for full details - but that's gone now so let's concentrate on one last effort next week. It's pretty clear now what has to happen: we'll stay up if we win at Grantham lose at home to Moor Green, or if they draw we need to win by three goals. Not impossible, but obviously it's out of our hands now.

Before that, we take a 2-1 lead to Crawley in the League Cup Final Second Leg. It's a real shame that we can't concentrate on this a bit more, but frankly it's a distraction before Saturday's showdown.

Match Report from DJ

Folkestone Invicta: Munden; Everitt, Larkin, Lindsey, Henry, Guest (Towse 21), Chandler, Chambers, Ayling (Maxwell 90), Blackman, Millar. Unused Sub: Morris

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell (Gibson 80), Hines, Stone, Collins, Burnham (Spencer HT), Williams, Ashby, Leadbeater (Danks HT), Blackwood, Smith. Unused Subs: Trainer, Hateley

Referee: M. O'Keefe (Orpington) Attendance: 351

Halesowen's survival hopes were left hanging on a mathematical thread after only managing a draw against already relegated and rock-bottom Folkestone.

The game itself mirrored Halesowen's season - a slow start, some improvement, another slump in the middle followed by a strong finish that was not quite enough to undo the earlier damage.

In a cagey opening Richard Leadbeater headed on a long Jason Burnham throw in the 10th minute but Michael Blackwood volleyed straight at veteran goalkeeper Maurice Munden. Lee Blackman ran down the left for Folkestone in the 13th minute but Tim Clarke cleared for a corner and on 22 minutes Lee Williams volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box for Town. A minute later John Ayling raced into the area but Clarke made a fingertip save to earn the hosts a corner. Halesowen immediately broke up the field and Williams threaded the ball for Les Hines to strike the legs of Munden. Hines then hit a 25th minute free-kick from 18 yards straight at Munden.

Folkestone took the lead from the penalty spot on 27 minutes with Martin CHANDLER blasting past Clarke after Gavin Stone was harshly penalised for pushing Blackman. Halesowen were awarded a penalty of their own just six minutes later when Blackwood burst into the area and was tugged back by Michael Everitt. Munden saved Les HINES' spot-kick by diving to his left but the ball rebounded for the full-back to follow-up and equalise.

However, the goal failed to lift the Yeltz and they fell behind again in the 38th minute through sloppy defending with Chambers and Ayling exchanging a series of passes to set up James MILLAR to clip past Clarke from 6 yards. Two minutes before the break Clarke collected another chip from Millar after Ayling played the ball into Blackman.

Halesowen made two half-time substitutions and stepped up a gear in the second half, looking hungry for a win. Clarke raced off his line to clear from Folkestone's Ayling after Halesowen won an early free-kick and corner. Dan Larkin then turned a Hines cross for a 51st minute corner with the ball bouncing off Danks and falling just over the bar. Munden then fumbled an overhead kick from Blackwood in the 52nd minute with Ashby chipping the resulting corner just high.

ASHBY levelled for the second time for Halesowen in the 54th minute when he latched onto a long ball from Williams that was missed by Anthony Henry to slide the ball past Munden and slot into the net.

That set up a final half-hour of pressure with Folkestone's backs to the wall as Halesowen poured forward in search of a vital win. Williams hit a 65th minute free-kick over the bar and Munden saved a down-header from Stone in the 70th minute. A minute later Munden saved a Lee Collins header from a corner kick but Chambers broke down the other end to set up Millar to strike inches wide of Clarke's post in the 78th minute.

In an increasingly frantic finish Ashby cut in to hit wide on 80 minutes and Blackwood forced an 85th minute corner after Andy Spencer won the ball in his own box and played a long ball forward. Larkin headed a Collins header off the line on 86 minutes and in injury time Halesowen's final flourish saw them win three consecutive corners with two headed efforts from Collins and Stone cleared off the Folkestone goal-line.

With the Yeltz failing to find the elusive winning goal and Hinckley winning at Tivvy, Halesowen must beat Chippenham and hope that Grantham slip up at home to Moor Green on the final Saturday in order to preserve their Premier division status.




WSC Final 2L Evesham 0 Yeltz 1

It's been a difficult season but our excellent cup form hasn't gone unrewarded with a 3-0 aggregate win over Evesham in the Worcestershire Senior Cup. A goal from Mark Danks clinched an easy victory in the two legs over the Midland Division side.

Saturday brings the most important game of the season so far down at Folkestone in a game we really must win. I'll repeat the strugglers' fixtures for reference below...

Obviously 3 points against Folkestone on Saturday are more or less essential, but it's all very close and you would hope two wins would make us safe. I'll try to update the site when I can, but for up to the minute updates I definitely recommend Scorecheck .

Match Report from DJ

Evesham United: Hart; A. Smith, Sage (Pinkney 58), Khela, Powell, Jukes, Wolsey, Oakey, Joyce, Bowen (Blake 75), Heath (Lennon 68). Unused Subs: Barnett, Ladek

Halesowen Town: Hateley; Spencer, Hines, Stone, Collins (N. Smith 70), Burnham, Gibson, Danks (Clarke 83), Leadbeater (Ashby 63), Blackwood, Trainer. Unused Subs: Williams, Colwell

Halesowen lifted the Worcestershire Senior Cup for the first time since 1962 with a comfortable three-goal aggregate victory.

Evesham forced two early corners in the third minute before Halesowen went on to create a host of chances. In the 10th minute Michael Blackwood burst down the centre and blasted just high from 10 yards. Three minutes later Phil Trainer won the ball in midfield and was just beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Tim Hart rushing out of his goal. On 16 minutes Richard Leadbeater rose to head a Les Hines corner just over the bar and four minutes later an Andy Spencer shot was deflected just wide. On 23 minutes Blackwood broke down the right again and crossed for Mark Danks to lob a good chance over the bar.

The returning Jason Burnham lost the ball in the 28th minute but Paul Oakey drove high from 25 yards out and on 32 minutes at the other end Danks scuffed another shot at Evesham keeper Hart from Trainer's right-wing cross.

The Yeltz scored the only goal of the night on 48 minutes when the creative Blackwood cut in from the right to strike the right-hand post and DANKS followed up with a diving header into the net. Sam Bowen and Wesley Joyce hit tame close range efforts at Gary Hateley and Joyce then watched the ball trickle just wide when Hateley dropped a deep right wing cross on the hour.

However, Halesowen remained well in control with Neil Gibson forcing a corner on the left and then shooting straight at Hart before a cracking Hines volley hit the roof of the net. Hateley spectacularly clawed away a free-kick on the edge of the box from Nathan Jukes after 67 minutes and a minute later opposite goalkeeper Hart saved well from Danks following Jason Ashby's left-wing cross.

The Yeltz gave themselves the luxury of using substitute goalkeeper Tim Clarke as a centre-forward for the last ten minutes and could have hit further goals when Andy Spencer from 20 yards in the 88th minute and Blackwood hit over the bar when clear on goal a minute later.




Newport 1 Yeltz 1

We're still fighting for our Premier Division lives with a battling 1-1 draw at Newport. A late goal from Jason means we're still in the bottom four , and with Grantham beating Hinckley it's the latter who are the team to catch now.

The strugglers' fixtures are:

Obviously 3 points against Folkestone on Saturday are more or less essential, but it's all very close and you would hope two wins would make us safe.

Before then, it's the second leg of the Worcester Senior Final at Evesham on Wednesday, where hopefully our 2-0 lead will be enough to clinch the trophy.

Match Report from DJ

Newport County: Wesson; C. Collins, Benton, Clark, Perry (Dupres 21), Fowler, Rose, Dimond, Plant (Dickeson 79), Shephard (Davis 24), Davies. Unused Subs: Stevenson, Fox

Halesowen Town: Hateley; Colwell, Hines, Bauress (Danks 58), L. Collins, Stone, Williams, Ashby, Leadbeater (Blackwood 79), Gibson (Trainer 73), Smith. Unused Subs: Spencer, Clarke

Referee: K. Buller (Bridgwater) Attendance: 604 Booked: Williams (89)

Halesowen kept the relegation battle bubbling to the end of the season with a fully deserved point at Newport.

There was a blow before the kick-off when goalkeeper Tim Clarke failed to show up on time after failing to do his geographical homework. Despite eventually arriving to take a place on the substitute's bench Clarke will have suffered the disciplinary consequences as well as the damage to his reputation.

Playing conditions again proved difficult in a swirling wind on the hard surface and in the first minute Newport's Matt Rose hit a half-volley just wide. Neil Gibson won an eighth minute corner for Halesowen but Billy Clark headed behind for a second Halesowen corner kick.

Reserve goalkeeper Gary Hateley made an all-round competent performance punching a 12th minute corner from Michael Fowler clear and then made a fine save low down from Steve Benton's 16th minute bobbling shot. However, Hateley could not prevent the unmarked Billy CLARK from simply heading home the resulting 19th minute corner from Kristian Dimond.

Halesowen responded well and in the 21st minute Gibson was put through but Rose intervened in the box. Lee Williams then played a neat one-two but his cross was taken out by goalkeeper Gareth Wesson. Steve Benton hit a 28th minute dipping shot over Hateley's bar but the Yeltz continued to create chances playing against the wind. Substitute Josh Dupres blocked when Richard Leadbeater turned to shoot in the area on 34 minutes and five minutes later Leadbeater then shot straight at Wesson. Three minutes before half-time Gibson appealed for a penalty after going down in the box from Neil Smith's cross and on the stroke of half-time Richard Colwell broke down the right to cross for Williams to strike over the bar.

The Yeltz continued to assert themselves in the second period although Raith Plant burst through from the left for the Exiles on 48 minutes beating Gary Bauress before hitting wide. Wesson then beat away a 52nd minute corner from Williams and saved a quickly taken free-kick from the same player two minutes later. Williams made a crucial interception on Rose at the other end in a Newport breakaway on the hour as the game opened up with Halesowen going for goal. Jason Ashby latched onto a long Lee Collins ball on 61 minutes but lobbed just high from 25 yards and five minutes later Stone headed a Les Hines corner kick just high. Substitute Mark Danks shot at Wesson on 74 minutes and five minutes from full time Wesson made a fine save from Michael Blackwood's free kick from the edge of the area.

Halesowen's hard work was justifiably rewarded two minutes from time when a long Stone throw-in found its way to Hines and although his shot was blocked the ball fell for ASHBY to prod home against a static home defence.




Yeltz 1 Grantham 0

A crucial winner from Les gained all three points in a game we had to win to have any chance of staying up.

It was a difficult day for playing football, with a very strong wind and a hard, dusty pitch making it difficult for both sides. The first half was pretty poor and pretty even, although both teams were battling hard. It was still 0-0 with half the second half gone, so Brendan changed to three up front and in the 71st minute we got a priceless winner when Williams crossed to the near post, Rich flicked it on and Les was at the far post to knock it in. Hurrah!

It was an unbelievably tense finish to the game - we had at least two great chances to clinch it - but eventually it was over in the hardest game to watch I can remember. With Hednesford beating Hinckley and Folkestone beating Hastings we're still in the bottom four but only a point behind with three games left.

So on to Newport on Easter Monday in a game we need to pick up something from. If we can show the fight we did against Grantham, we can take all three. Come On!

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Hines, Bauress, Collins (Danks 65), Stone, Williams, Ashby, Leadbeater, Gibson (Spencer 65), Smith. Unused Subs: Trainer, Blackwood, Hateley

Grantham Town: Ziccardi; Hall, George (Wilkins 75), McDaid (Last 81), Speed, Gowshall, Marshall, Bull, Ranshaw, Wenlock (Hallows 79), Wilson. Unused Subs: Bowater, Hawley

Referee: L. Hodson (Nuneaton) Attendance: 501

Halesowen gave themselves a great chance of avoiding the drop by narrowly winning the vital 6-pointer against the fifth from bottom Gingerbreads. Quality football was never high on the agenda with the blustery wind and the perilous league positions of both sides producing a predictably hard-fought scrap.

Straight from the kick-off Grantham goalkeeper Mario Ziccardi raced out to head clear and seconds later Lee Collins robbed Lee Marshall in the Halesowen area. Les Hines then drove over the bar from 20-yards in the 3rd minute. Halesowen won three corners in quick succession without troubling Ziccardi while at the other end Gavin Stone headed a Gary Bull free-kick clear. Collins then headed over his own bar in the 18th minute for the first of four Grantham corner kicks from which Tim Clarke saved a 19th minute Brendan McDaid header. A good left wing cross from Neil Gibson was headed away for a Yeltz corner on 28 minutes which Ziccardi cleared against his own player but Jason Ashby could only chip the loose ball over the bar.

The best chance of the first half fell in the 40th minute when Gibson escaped his marker at the far post to meet a Lee Williams cross but then screwed wide from 10-yards out. A minute later Rick Ranshaw missed a good opportunity for Grantham at the other end.

Halesowen applied early pressure in the second-half and won a 46th minute corner when Ziccardi saved a 25-yard Neil Smith volley. Gavin Stone then forced another corner with Gibson side-stepping his marker to drive inches wide from 20-yards. Grantham's Stuart Wilson flashed a 49th minute header into the side-netting from Bull's corner and on 58 minutes Ranshaw crashed a 20-yard free-kick high over the bar after Gary Bauress had handled on the edge of the box.

HINES hit the crucial winning goal for Halesowen in the 71st minute when he headed home from close range at the far post as Richard Leadbeater headed-on a right-wing cross from Williams. In a tense finish Clarke collected a tame 20-yard shot from Wilson a minute later but it was Halesowen who had the better chances to increase the lead. On 85 minutes Ashby broke down the left and cleverly crossed across goal but the unmarked Leadbeater blasted over the bar from 6 yards out. A minute later Ashby broke again but this time hit straight at Ziccardi. The final whistle brought relief and renewed hope in a game that the result meant much more than the performance.