STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
Yeltz 1 Aylesbury 1
25 February 2006
You could also say it's mediocre. A disappointing draw against a struggling team has left us smack in the middle of the table with little hope of that changing in the short term. An early goal from Dave Haywood set us on our way, but it sounds like it was a pretty desparate game.
Next Saturday we travel to runaway leaders Salisbury which sounds like it's going to be hard, but with our inconsistent form I have a strange feeling we're going to do well. I can't explain it either :-)
Match Report from DJ
Halesowen Town: Coleman; Pierpoint, Haywood, Preston, Pope, Cooper, Cowley, Lamey (C. Smith 80), Forinton, Hadland (Skidmore 80), Forsdick. Unused Subs: Johnson, Knight, Amos
Aylesbury United: Kirk; Schillachi, Page, Gould, Hayward, Butler, Kilmartin (Jackson HT), Powles, Gutzmore, Deane, Bridge (Pringle 77). Unused Subs: Goss, Gordon, Trebble
Referee: C. Williams (Cheltenham) Attendance: 309 Booked: Forinton (22), Hadland (68), Butler (73), Pringle (87) Sponsors' HTFC Man of the Match: Simon Forsdick
Halesowen continued to decline towards mid-table mediocrity with a desperately disappointing draw despite taking an early lead against crisis-club Aylesbury.
The Yeltz made the perfect start in the 3rd minute when woeful defending left defender Dave HAYWOOD unmarked and clear on goal and his shot was just good enough to creep into the corner of the net off goalkeeper Reece Kirk.
Despite the early goal and the fact that Aylesbury are still without a win in 2006, any hopes of a thrashing were soon dashed as Halesowen failed to build on their ideal opening. To their credit, Aylesbury battled away bravely for a well earned point in a scrappy game that offered little entertainment. Kieran Deane struck a 15th minute free-kick straight at home goalkeeper Dean Coleman from 22 yards and two minutes later Mark Bridges sent in another long range effort.
The hosts had a strong claim for a penalty turned down in the 19th minute after the ball struck the arm of a defender. Kirk then made a sensational 31st minute reflex save to keep out a deflected shot from Alex Cowley and Robert Gould was on hand to tidy up.
But as Halesowen began to sit back, the cash-strapped Ducks came back strongly into the game. Sam Page hit an ambitious 39th minute effort over the bar and Kyle Kilmartin screwed just wide from a good position a minute later. Seconds before the break a cross from Deane bounced off Bridge and fell just wide of the post.
Halesowen played the second half with the stiff easterly winds behind their backs and in the 51st minute Steve Pope headed just wide. Matthew Butler turned the ball behind his own goal with Kirk saving Niki Preston's header from the resulting corner in the 59th minute and on 63 minutes Scott Hadland played a neat interchange for Cowley to fire at Kirk.
Inevitably, the Ducks levelled the score in the 64th minute when substitute Nicholas JACKSON hit a super 20-yard strike to beat Coleman all ends up. It could have been even worse news for the Yeltz in the 76th minute but Leon Gutzmore blazed a good chance over the bar from 15 yards.
Halesowen had little left in reserve to try to regain the lead although Pope smashed a 79th minute free-kick against a well-marshalled defensive wall and three minutes from time Pope volleyed yards over the bar and into the Stourbridge Road from Haywood's free-kick.