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26 Mar 2002 DMW Halesowen Town 3-0 Evesham United PDF Print E-mail

Dr Martens Western Division – Tuesday, 26th March, 2002

Halesowen Town 3 Evesham United 0

Experienced campaigner Leroy May hit a first-half hat-trick to put championship chasing Halesowen within five points and mathematical touching distance of the promotion finishing line.

As early as the 2nd minute Evesham goalkeeper Darren Steadman made a point blank save from Andy Jones but the striker was ruled offside. In early exchanges a 5th minute cross from Mark Taylor then beat Evesham but no Yeltz forward was on hand to benefit and as the ball broke downfield Taylor raced back to clear for a corner at the other end. With Taylor in the thick of the action he touched a free-kick for Jason Burnham to hit a 20-yard shot that Steadman tipped over the bar for a 9th minute corner.

Evesham missed their best chance of the game in the 19th minute when Paul Webb lofted a quality ball behind the Yeltz defence to find Shaun Pratt in space but Tim Clarke pulled off a tremendous diving save. The visitors paid the price for that miss in the 25th minute when Halesowen were awarded a free-kick for a reckless challenge by Scott Mullen on John Newall. Taylor’s free-kick was hooked over by Neil Smith and Leroy May was on hand with a vital touch to nod home from two yards out. Three members of the Press Box, watching from an unfortunate angle and seeing the defender being congratulated, all believed the goal had gone in directly from Neil Smith, but confirmation from the dressing-room and from other angles of the ground confirmed it was a May goal.

Evesham continued to look lively up-front and found space in the Halesowen defence but were unable to capitalise and fell two goals behind in the 37th minute with Les Hines hit an in-swinging  corner which May swept into the roof of the net. May went on to complete his first-half hat-trick to put Halesowen three goals ahead a minute before the break. Andy Spencer worked his way behind the visiting defence and crossed for May to tap home with Evesham crying furiously for offside. Just on half-time Richard Colwell was on hand to clear off his goal-line from a James Brown effort.

Phil Preedy blasted just wide for the visitors in the 46th minute who realised it wasn’t their night when Scott Mullen’s 52nd minute strike was disallowed by referee McIlravey. Halesowen went on to create several more chances but had already done enough to win the game in a fairly flat second half. May headed just wide from a Gary Smith cross in the 56th minute and Andy Spencer headed into the arms of Steadman after 68 minutes. For Evesham Pratt hit a 63rd minute drive from 20 yards over the bar but the visitors had Steadman to thank as he managed to grab the ball when Spencer hit towards goal in the 76th minute after the ball broke from Gary Smith’s challenge on the Evesham ‘keeper. Steadman went on to make a great save with his feet from Gary Smith and his defence kept the league leaders out in an injury time goalmouth scramble.

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham, N. Smith, Newall, Skidmore, Spencer, Jones (G. Smith 41), May, Taylor, Hines. Subs: Cowley, R. Collins.

Evesham United: Steadman; A. Smith, Parmenter (Maybury 58), Duff, Powell, Lutz, Mullen (Pountney 69), Webb, Pratt, Brown, Preedy. Sub: Davies.

Referee: A. McIlravey (Redditch)  Attendance: 503 Booked: Mullen (25)

Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Neil Smith

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