Atherstone 2 Yeltz 5

29 December 2001

An excellent way to finish what's been a difficult year. Despite being 2-1 down at one point, we came back in style to clinch an easy victory against old rivals Atherstone to maintain our position on top of the table . Goals from Bailey, two from Spencer, one from Gary Smith and an own goal means we go into 2002 in a very strong position to regain our place in the Premier Division.

Next game is on New Year's Day at The Grove to Evesham, where hopefully we'll continue our excellent run on until the end of the season. Have a very merry New Year!

Match Report from DJ

Atherstone United: Belford; Hart (O'Toole), Beazeley, Barry, Turner (Cammock), Rutherford, Martin, Middleton, Brown, Ejiofor, Doughty. Sub: Genner

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham, N. Smith, L. Collins, Skidmore, Spencer, Bailey, G. Smith, Taylor (Hines 81), R. Collins (Gray 23). Sub: Newall

Referee: P. Martin (Wellingborough) Attendance: 357 Booked: Beazeley (30), Doughty (49), Barry (60)

Halesowen warmed up a freezing Atherstone afternoon with a festive feast of goals despite going behind early in the game. The win kept up the pressure at the top of the table with the Yeltz reaching 50 points.

In the first minute Ross Collins won a corner which Dale Belford lost in the blinding sunlight. Just a minute later, the Yeltz made a perfect start when slack defending let Dennis Bailey turn to crack into the top corner from 20 yards. The Adders levelled five minutes later when Emeka Ejiofor split the defence and put Leon Doughty clear to fire between the legs of Tim Clarke. Poor defending gave the home side a 13th minute lead when Lee Middleton squared across the penalty area from the right for Doughty to hit his second goal home from 5 yards, despite the best efforts of Richard Colwell to clear.

With Halesowen attempting to fight back, Lee Collins headed Taylor's corner over the bar and brother Ross shot at Belford before being stretchered off with a badly gashed ankle in the 21st minute. Ejiofor then hit past the post in the 27th minute and Neil Smith saw his header cleared off the line by Adam Hart a minute later. On the half-hour Gary Smith laid off the ball for Bailey, forcing Belford to make a fine save.

Halesowen were back on terms with an easy equaliser in the 33rd minute when Gary Smith rolled the ball from the left for Andy Spencer to calmly place home from 12 yards. Spencer returned the compliment on the stroke of half-time by supplying Gary Smith to hit home from close range and regain Halesowen's lead. Tim Clarke was alert to save from Ejiofor in first half stoppage time as the Adders attacks continued to be direct.

A slip by Neil Smith almost let in Ejiofor after 47 minutes, but Clarke saved the danger. However, the second half started in much quieter fashion from the frantic goal action of the first and it wasn't until 60 minutes that Dennis Bailey had an overhead kick tipped over by Belford. Halesowen then went 4-2 ahead when Adam Hart hit the ball into his own net when attempting to clear Colwell's right wing cross on 66 minutes. Bailey hit the bar two minutes from time from just 8 yards out after Hines had crossed from the left following good play by Gary Smith. In the final minute Andy Spencer burst forward to crack Halesowen's fifth goal into the bottom corner from 20 yards.