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27 Nov 2001 DMW Stourport Swifts 2-3 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail

Dr Martens Western Division - Tuesday, 27th November, 2001

Stourport Swifts 2 Halesowen Town 3

A game that was heading steadily for a dismal defeat against a scratch Stourport side suddenly turned into an evening that will become Yeltz folklore in the years to come. Halesowen started the day in 5th place in the table, 5 points behind Chippenham at the top and 4 points behind both Solihull and Clevedon. After 70 minutes Halesowen were trailing 2-0 to Stourport. What happened next? Well, suffice to say Halesowen ended the evening at the top of the table. How did it happen?

The Yeltz continued where they left off on Saturday. Plenty of possession, but with their attacks breaking down in the final third. However, this time the defence could not keep up their remarkable record and Stourport took the lead in their first attack after 27 minutes when Lea Shaw diverted home a cross from Matt Southwick with Richard Colwell unable to clear. Tim Clarke then made a tremendous blocking save from Lee Booth who was clear on goal in the 44th minute. However, on the stroke of half-time a free-kick from Southwick was headed on by Steve Ulfig and the ball squirmed past Clarke into the bottom corner to end a disastrous half for Halesowen.

Gary Smith replaced Andy Jones and worked hard using his experience but the real turning point came with the introduction of the adventurous Andy Spencer in the 66th minute. With Ross Collins suddenly fired up, the Yeltz looked more menacing. Ross Collins was bundled over on a run in the 68th minute and Jason Burnham smashed the resulting penalty down the centre of the goal. Hope renewed. In the 75th minute Mark Taylor worked into the box and was tripped by Southwick for a second penalty. Burnham calmly repeated his previous effort by crashing a piledriver into the top of the net for an equaliser. The winner came against a bemused Stourport in the 90th minute when a corner from Taylor was pushed forward towards the goal-line by Neil Smith and in a forest of legs, Gary Smith poked into the goal from about a foot out. Players, officials and supporters all went into ecstasy

Let me complete the puzzle. Earlier in the day, news filtered through that Bloxwich had failed to fulfil their evening fixture against Bilston and as a result of a meeting the previous evening had in fact resigned from the league. A quick look at the results grid showed that Halesowen had yet to play them, whereas the top three had already beaten them. Using a word that only seems to get used when a team goes bust, the record of Bloxwich was “expunged” , leaving Halesowen at the top. An unlikely outcome from only 20 minutes earlier!!

Stourport Swifts: Hipkins; Ulfig, Laker, Townsend, Mullders, Shaw, Southwick, Langford, Marsh, Booth, Nicholls. Subs: Hart, Cooper, Davies.

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham, N. Smith, L. Collins, R. Collins, Hall (Spencer 66), Jones (G. Smith 45), Giddings, Taylor, Carter (Crawford 66).

Referee: K. Hawkes (Quedgeley, Glos.)  

Booked: R. Collins (29)

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