Yeltz 0 Gloucester 2

26 March 2005

I heard a few people making the old joke that we should be renamed Halesowen Nil on Saturday, as we went an unbelievable 5th game without scoring in losing 2-0 at The Grove to Gloucester.

We actually played pretty well considering we played most of the game with 10 men. Cooper got sent off for a stupid foul, when it looked like he tried to stamp on one of their defenders. It looked the correct decision from where I was standing, and a really daft thing to do.

We held them for a tedious first half, and then in the second really took the game to them just missing on a few occasions. However when the otherwise excellent Haywood gave the ball away in his own half they took their chance well and it was really all over. As we tired they got a second, and we'd slipped right out of the play-off postions into 7th place .

We've got six games left to turn things around, with the two most difficult ones coming up first. Today (Easter Monday) we visit Merthyr in a critical game we now probably can't afford to lose, then on Saturday we visit faltering league leaders Chips and Ham. We CAN still get into the play-offs, but we probably need at least 4 wins and a draw from our remaining matches.

Match Report from DJ

Halesowen Town: Taylor; Cooper Haywood, Preston, Pope, Amos, Cowley, Haarhoff (Baker 16), Lamey, Skidmore, Forsdick. Unused Subs: Bowater, Moore, Johnson, Gayle.

Gloucester City: Bath; C. Thompson, M. Thompson (Harris 54), Griffiths (Varnham 80), Tomkins, Burns, Mustoe, Smith, Addis, Webb (Knight 73), Wilkinson. Unused Sub: Reid.

Referee: L. Hodgson (Nuneaton) Attendance: 412 Booked: Webb (54), Cowley (60) Sent Off: Cooper (9) Sponsors' Man of the Match: Nick Amos

Halesowen's plunged out of the play-off places towards mid-table with another dismal home defeat as their longest spell of football without a goal for 25 years continued.

Alex Cowley's deep 8th minute cross was cleared after being headed back across goal by Nick Amos. But Halesowen then gave themselves an almost impossible task after being forced to play most of the match with only 10 men. Referee Hodgson used his discretion to immediately brandish the red-card at Ian Cooper after only 9 minutes for allegedly stamping on Gloucester player-manager Chris Burns, despite some debate about the severity of the infringement.

The incident changed the shape of the game and led to a drab first period with Halesowen sacrificing striker Jimmy Haarhoff for the midfield presence of substitute Lewis Baker in a tactical substitution on 16 minutes.

Cowley skipped past Burns on the right but Lynson Tomkins cleared the resulting cross before the Tigers forced two corners from Neil Mustoe mid-way through the first half. On 37 minutes Amos headed on the ball for Baker but his overhead kick was tipped away for a corner by goalkeeper Matt Bath. Cowley's ambitious 41st minute run forward from midfield was then ended by Neil Griffiths and seconds before the break Steve Pope hit a 35-yard free-kick well wide.

Ten-man Halesowen made a positive start to the second half with Tom Webb forced to clear Dave Haywood's corner off the line in the 46th minute. A minute later Simon Forsdick hit a 20-yard drive inches over the bar and on 48 minutes Nathan Lamey shot straight at the legs of Bath when clear on goal.

On 51 minutes, Gloucester's Daryll Addis was let through by Haywood but Lee Smith placed his shot wide from a good position. The Yeltz went close again on 56 minutes when Baker could only poke the ball over the bar from just 5 yards from Cowley's cross and a 74th minute strike from Forsdick was parried away by Bath with Tomkins clearing for a corner.

Gloucester hit two late goals with Halesowen finally running out of steam to slump to their fourth straight defeat. A slip from Haywood allowed Lee SMITH to beat goalkeeper Chris Taylor from the edge of the area in the 77th minute and with four minutes remaining ADDIS squeezed home a low angled drive from the right.