Yeltz 0 Chelmsford 2

22 February 2003

In a game critical to our chances of avoiding relegation, the mighty Yeltz went down 2-0 to fellow strugglers Chelmsford City at The Grove. Two first-half goals means we're still 5 points from safety and on current form looking a good bet to go straight back down. Full match details in DJ's match report .

All this makes Tuesday's game at home to Weymouth even more important. We stuffed them 4-1 earlier in the season, and if we can't get three points against them I just can't see any way we can stay up. No pressure there then.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: T. Clarke; Colwell, Charlton (Trainer 52), Bauress, Collins, Stone, Williams, Ashby, May (Leadbeater 52), McHugh, Hines. Unused Subs: Skidmore, Smith, Master.

Chelmsford City: Nicholls; Statham, Cousins, Basham, Wiles, Slatter (Reid 84), Cross, Rutherford, Dean, Watkins (Samuels 73), Berkley. Unused Subs: S. Clarke, Lay, Lakin

Referee: G. Law (Leicester) Attendance: 462 Booked: Charlton (39)

Despite their early dominance goal-shy Halesowen were hit by two goals just before half-time in a smash-and-grab raid by the Chelmsford forwards.

Desperately needing a win to bolster their league position, Halesowen started brightly and on-loan Lee Williams latched onto a 2nd minute defensive slip but fired high from a good position. Williams then flicked on a right-wing cross to Jason Ashby on 15 minutes but the young striker hit the side-netting from two yards as he attempted to round goalkeeper Paul Nicholls, who was injured in the process. A deep 19th minute cross from Williams was then met by Leroy May's header but the struggling Nicholls managed to grab the ball.

At the other end, Tim Clarke grabbed an Ian Cousins free-kick and then easily took the ball as Chelmsford won two 20th minute corners.

Hungry Halesowen were well on top at this stage and continued to create chances with a 22nd minute Williams volley drifting just wide from a Les Hines cross. Frazer McHugh then shot inches wide on 24 minutes and a minute later looked certain to score but was denied on the line by Gary Cross after Ashby helped the ball on. Cross was then unlucky to see the ball flash past Halesowen's post when his shot took a nasty deflection off skipper Lee Collins.

On the half-hour Collins could only head weakly past the post from a Hines corner before the Yeltz were punished for missing their chances. Chelmsford's stunned the home crowd by taking a 32nd minute lead when Dale Watkins crossed from the left for the unmarked Phil DEAN to steal in and head past Clarke, despite Clarke almost making a spectacular stop.

Asa Charlton received a booking as frustration grew and in the 40th minute May powered a header wide of the mark from another Hines cross. Worse followed for the Yeltz in the 43rd minute when slack defending allowed Austin Berkley to find WATKINS and the experienced striker hammered home from 8 yards to increase the lead.

Halesowen heads dropped alarmingly in the second period and injured City goalkeeper Nicholls was never seriously tested despite an early double substitution. With Chelmsford looking comfortable with their lead, Watkins curled just wide on the hour and then influential midfielder Danny Slatter forced a low save from Clarke on 80 minutes.

Halesowen's final opportunity arrived 8 minutes from time from a great Williams cross but both Ashby and Leadbeater waited too long to fire the trigger from close range and the danger was cleared.