Yeltz 0 Welling 0

17 August 2002

I guess the cliche to use is 'Both defences cancelled each other out'.

The mighty Yeltz's return to the Premier Division was quite a low key affair, and a good introduction to what I think will be quite typical this season. We were as solid as ever, but Welling's defence was clearly much stronger than those we played last season and we struggled to break them down. Oh well, a nice point to start with and a reality check to anyone who thought we were going to carry on winning game after game.

Monday takes us to old rivals Hednesford in our first league game against them for quite a while. They struggled last year (as did Welling) so let's hope for a positiove result.

Fantasy Island has kicked off again, and the email addresses of many of you don't seem to be valid any more. You need a valid email address to play the game, so if you are playing and haven't received the weekly update please mail me and I'll sort it out. Otherwise I'm afraid I'll have to start removing players from the game.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham, Smith, L. Collins, Skidmore, Spencer (Quiggin 64), A. Jones (Leadbeater 59), Elmes Taylor, Hines. Unused Subs: Newall, Reece, Ashby.

Welling United: Knight; Seabury, Virgo, Hone, Edwards, Farley, Riviere (Burgess HT), Aboagye, Abbott, P. Jones, Hogg (Lorraine 81). Unused Subs: Standen, Sodje, Morrish.

Referee: D. J. Hine (Worcester) Attendance: 566

Halesowen were unable to break down a well organised Welling defence resulting in the much awaited return to the Premier Division ending in a disappointing goalless draw.

Tim Clarke almost missed the game due to an illness that caused him increasing distress as the game wore on. After an initial enthusiastic burst from the Yeltz, it was Clarke who made an early 7th minute save at the foot of his post from James Virgo and a minute later Paul Jones turned in the box to hit just wide for the visitors.

As Halesowen settled, Andy Spencer caught out the Welling defence after 18 minutes but his right-wing cross was turned away for a corner with Andy Jones set to pounce. Virgo hit a speculative 35-yard shot just over Clarke's crossbar in the 24th minute and on the half-hour.

Stuart Skidmore saw a goalbound 20-yard drive diverted for a corner at the other end.

Welling's Paul Jones missed the best chance of the game when he escaped Lee Collins and the rest of the Halesowen defence in the 40th minute but he wasted the chance by driving well wide when clear on goal. Gary Abbott then ended a game of head-tennis in the Halesowen area by bringing a save low down from Clarke three minutes before the break. Right on half-time Andy Jones volleyed just high for the home side after Rob Elmes chested-down a long throw-in from Jason Burnham. In first-half injury time Paul Jones broke free again for Welling but Kevin Seabury hit his cross high over the bar.

The second half developed increasingly into a stalemate with a barren draw always looking the most likely outcome. Halesowen introduced Richard Leadbeater and Jimmy Quiggin to try to find more inspiration and in the 72nd minute a clever back-heel from Leadbeater set up Mark Taylor but his 20-yard shot was blocked. Four minutes later Elmes set up Quiggin to head agonisingly wide of the mark with Leadbeater inches from making a crucial touch at the base of the post. Seabury then headed wide for Welling in the 77th minute when in space from just five yards out following Abbott's cross.

Lee Collins headed home for Halesowen in the 87th minute but his effort was quite rightly disallowed when the giant central defender climbed over the Welling defence.