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27 Dec 2003 Halesowen Town 2-2 Stourport Swifts PDF Print E-mail

Dr Martens Western – Saturday, 27th December, 2003

Halesowen Town 2 Stourport Swifts 2

Richard Ball rescued under-performing Halesowen with a second-half debut goal after ex-Halesowen midfielder Richard Kavanagh put the Swifts in the driving-seat by setting up two early goals from set pieces.

Dan Jones hit wide for Halesowen from 20-yards in the 4th minute before the Swifts raced into a two-goal lead. Kavanagh hit a twice-taken low free-kick into the Halesowen area and Ronnie SAYER was first to react to clip the ball into the top-corner from 6-yards in the 14th minute. The misfiring Yeltz failed to defend another dead-ball kick when Kavanagh delivered a right-wing corner in the 25th minute allowing Nathan JUKES to head home directly on his debut to stun the home crowd.

With Halesowen gradually waking up, a 26th minute header from Dominic Reece found Jason Ashby in front of goal but goalkeeper Lee Evans was able to make a close range save. Stourport played Andrew Wright as a sole front-runner and were always going to be difficult to break down, so it was somewhat out-of-the-blue when Halesowen pulled a goal back in the 29th minute. Simon Hollis miscued a right-wing cross and REECE rose with goalkeeper Evans appearing to push the ball into his own net under pressure before being bundled over by Reece, with furious calls from the visitors for a foul.
At the other end, home goalkeeper Matt Lowe spilt a 30-yard drive from Sayer but Charlton tidied up to concede a 38th minute corner. Halesowen were then fortunate to escape a penalty appeal seconds before half-time when Wright pounced on confusion between Darren Grocutt and Lowe and appeared to be brought down - although the referee waved play on.

Ashby almost equalised for the Yeltz two minutes after the re-start when he controlled a long kick from Lowe but put the ball wide of the net from eight yards. Evans then held onto a 53rd minute drive from Asa Charlton.

Substitute Richard BALL, signed only a few days earlier from Stourport on a two-year contract, was introduced in the 59th minute and made an immediate impact to level the scores six minutes later by latching onto a bad back-header and calmly slotting past Evans from 12-yards.

Kerry Giddings and Jukes struck just wide for Stourport after 67 and 70 minutes, but it was Halesowen who peppered the visiting goal in the latter stages with their enviable forward line of Ball, Ashby and Steve Piearce all going close. Ben Steane hit just over the bar in the 75th minute and two minutes later Hollis beat two defenders before striking his shot inches high from 30-yards out.

In the final two minutes Charlton hit over the bar from a Lewis Baker header and Piearce struck wide but without any real structure or pattern to Halesowen’s play, the Swifts were able to hold out for a draw.

Halesowen Town: Lowe; Reece (Small 72), Charlton, Grocutt (Ball 59), Jones, Baker, Hollis, Ashby, Piearce, Steane, Spencer. Unused Subs: Colwell, Skidmore, Sheils.

Stourport Swifts: Evans; Mark Jones, Ulfig, Powell, Davies, Jukes, Cotterill, Sayer (Giddings 48), Kavanagh, Dunn, Wright (Webb 72). Unused Subs: Mark A. Jones, Harris, Price.

Referee:  C. D. Nock (Stourbridge)

Attendance: 584

Booked: Hollis (87), Giddings (87)

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