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30 Oct 2004 FAC4QR Brigg Town 1-4 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail
F. A. Cup 4th Qualifying Round - Saturday, 30th October 2004
Brigg Town 1 Halesowen Town 4
Captain Steve Pope hit two tremendous cannonball strikes directly from free-kicks to lift Halesowen into the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time in 13 years, although there was some disappointment at then being drawn away to fellow non-league Yeading.
Understandably there was a degree of nervousness prior to the game with Brigg boasting a proud Cup tradition and matching Halesowen’s record of lifting the FA Vase on two occasions. It was 18 years since Halesowen visited Brigg in the Vase and Mark Penn who was a member of that Vase winning squad was spotted amongst the large contingent of travelling fans.
Halesowen could have killed the game early on and almost made a dream start after just 20 seconds on a perfect playing surface when Alex Cowley’s cross fell to Dave Haywood but he struck a great chance wide. Haywood then delivered a fine 9th minute cross to cause chaos in the home defence and a looping header from Lewis Baker rebounded off the crossbar with home goalkeeper Damien Steer beaten a minute later.
Brigg’s Ross Thompson hit a loose ball over the bar from 25 yards in the 13th minute before Halesowen’s Jason Moore nipped in between the last defender and goalkeeper Steer to poke the ball into the side-netting. Home striker Simon Roach turned to fire wide in the 16th minute but four minutes later Halesowen won their first corner when Simon Forsdick’s shot was fisted away from Cowley’s cross. With Halesowen on top, Pope then forced a second corner before Pope tidied up in his own defence on 27 minutes after Niki Preston was dispossessed. Steer then punched clear in the 32nd minute and Lee Cochrane saved the home side by heading Pope’s header off the line from the resulting corner.
The home side stunned Halesowen by taking the lead against the run of play in the 39th minute when Paul CHATTERTON broke free to chip goalkeeper Chris Taylor with the visiting defence appealing for an offside decision. Halesowen responded immediately and levelled a minute later although the ultimate goalscorer remained shrouded in mystery. COWLEY made the last decisive Halesowen touch when his free-kick from a tight angle on the edge of the area struck the far post and crept into the net with the aid of a fumble from goalkeeper Steer, although Pope later claimed the goal to record his hat-trick.
Three minutes into the second half Jimmy Haarhoff turned but shot straight at Steer. However it was the Zebras who dominated the start of the second half and were first to the ball in a strangely low-key period for Halesowen with Roach forcing his way down the right to smash into the side-netting in the 61st minute.
Halesowen finally started to fire on all cylinders in the final quarter of the game and on 68 minutes Cowley set up Moore to play a one-two and force Steer into a fine save. POPE then gave Halesowen the lead in the 70th minute with a screaming direct free-kick from the edge of the area leaving Steer and his defensive wall rooted to the spot after live-wire Haarhoff was brought down. Haarhoff then chased free down the left and cut the ball back to Moore but his side-foot shot allowed Steer to make a crucial save. Brigg then kept out Preston’s goal-bound header from Haywood’s 77th minute corner.
Remarkably, POPE then crashed home a mirror-image goal direct from another identically positioned free-kick with the help of a slight deflection in the 80th minute after Cowley was fouled. With Brigg’s spirit finally broken substitute Richard BURGESS notched a fourth goal with a neat chip over Steer in the 86th minute and in injury time Steer made two saves from Haarhoff who broke clear on goal. The final whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes with supporters and players sharing the celebrations.
Brigg Town: Steer; Ward, Waltham, Cochrane, Hope, Housham, Stones, Thompson, Roach, Chatterton, Ainsley. Subs: Cadman, Thorne, Tuck, Betts, Andrews.
Halesowen Town: Taylor; Cooper, Haywood, Preston, Pope, Jones, Cowley, Haarhoff, Moore (Burgess 76), Baker (Steane 86), Forsdick (Skidmore 80). Unused Subs: Robinson, Strachan.
Referee: S. G. Cooke (Mansfield)
Attendance: 588
Booked: Preston (56)
 
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