Yeltz 1 Cambridge 1

08 March 2003

We really needed three points today, and although most other results went for us we're still three points from safety with a game in hand. It was looking a lot worse when we went behind just before half-time, but came back through another excellent goal from Mark Danks.

On Monday we make the long journey down to Dover to play that game in hand. It's going to be very difficult, but we gave them a good game at The Grove earlier in the season so let's hope we can get something out of the game.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell (Leadbeater 75), Hines, Bauress, Collins, Stone, Williams, Ashby, Danks, McHugh, Skidmore. Unused Subs: Master, Charlton, Trainer, Spencer

Cambridge City: Davies; Wignall, Wardley, Wooding, Vowden, Sturgess, Niven, Hayes, Gutzmore, Bloomfield (Paynter 88), Simpson (Wilkin 75). Unused Subs: Rice, Huggins, Calton

Referee: T. J. Sim (Burton) Attendance: 506 Booked: Stone (34)

A crucial relegation six-pointer ended all-square and although another failure to beat a lower table side at home was a disappointment, the second half equaliser still provided hope of escaping the bottom four.

Halesowen started confidently, looking to build on an excellent week that saw a 3-1 victory at Ilkeston followed by their progression to the Dr Martens Cup Final by defeating high-flying Chippenham. On loan Bantam Mark Danks forced a 5th minute corner and then skipped through the Cambridge defence on 12 minutes but saw his teasing shot fall just wide of goal. Goalkeeper Tim Clarke easily collected a 16th minute effort from Cambridge full-back Jack Wignall and two minutes later Frazer McHugh superbly turned his marker from a Gavin Stone cross but shot inches wide.

Cambridge came back strongly in the 25th minute and Clarke could only punch Stuart Niven's corner under challenge by Robbie Simpson and the ball landed for Leon Gutzmore on the line but Richard Colwell was on hand to make a vital clearance. On 28 minutes a Les Hines free-kick was turned away for a corner taken by Lee Williams with the ball breaking for Hines to volley from 25 yards and force a spectacular save from Martin Davies.

The visitors took a 39th minute lead when NIVEN beat off the challenges of Stuart Skidmore and Lee Collins in the area to fire past Clarke from 10 yards. A minute before the break the visitors went close again with Simpson just inches from meeting a Gutzmore cross with his attempt at a diving header as Halesowen endured their worst 15-minute spell of the game after falling behind. Just thirty seconds into the second-half Clarke turned a 15-yard shot from Adie Hayes around the post.

However, the Yeltz then battled back into the game and created a number of chances before deservedly equalising. On 53 minutes Colwell won the ball in midfield and fed Jason Ashby on the left, but McHugh couldn't find enough power in his header from Ashby's cross to beat Davies against the blustery wind. On the hour Gary Bauress linked up with Williams to put McHugh through on goal but his dipping 20-yard shot fell just over the bar. Five minutes later Halesowen missed their best chance so far when Ashby chested down a Williams cross to leave himself clear on goal but he missed the target from 12 yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Halesowen eventually levelled on 67 minutes when Williams drove through the Cambridge defence and the ball broke for DANKS to fire home just inside the post from the edge of the penalty area. Brendan Philips then gambled for a winner with 15 minutes remaining by replacing full-back Colwell with striker Richard Leadbeater.

Both sides had late chances to win the game although the draw was a fair outcome. Ashby beat his marker but drove wide in the 79th minute, a 20-yard Williams drive then drifted just wide and Collins headed over the bar for Halesowen while Danny Bloomfield missed a good opportunity for Cambridge by firing high in space from 10 yards in the 85th minute. A minute from full-time Danks almost stole in between Davies and Wooding but hit the side-netting from a tight angle.