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31 Dec 2005 SLP Halesowen Town 2-1 Bath City PDF Print E-mail

Southern League Premier Division – Saturday, 31st December 2005

Halesowen Town 2 Bath City 1

Skipper Steve Pope smashed home a late winner for Halesowen to record their second home win of the festive week.

The Yeltz made a dream start by taking the lead after just 62 seconds with the disappointingly sparse New Year’s Eve crowd still taking up their places. Chris Smith headed on Dean Coleman’s long clearance for Howard FORINTON to lob the ball over static goalkeeper Paul Evans from the edge of the penalty in apparent slow motion.

It was a dreadful start for a Bath side seeking a positive reaction to their first defeat by Chippenham earlier in the week. However, highly-rated Andy Sandell inexplicably remained on the substitutes bench, fuelling speculation of an imminent move to the Football League as the transfer window opens.

The visitors attempted to repair the damage for the rest of the first half, but could not break down the home defence despite enjoying most of the play as Halesowen seemed content to sit back on the lead. Graeme Power combined with Phil Walsh to set up Scott Partridge to strike the side-netting in the 11th minute. A minute later Partridge forced a fine save from Coleman but was ruled offside and in the 15th minute Coleman sliced the ball for the first of five first-half Bath corners.

Chris Smith used good vision in the 21st minute to play a sweeping pass out to Alex Cowley but his run on goal was snuffed out. But with Bath pushing for an equaliser, Steve Jones saw his free-kick cleared by Gary Knight and his header cleared off the line by Nick Amos on the half-hour. Power’s weak 35th minute shot was then easily collected by Coleman. Two minutes before the break Cowley set Forinton free on the right and his lightning cross was cleared by Jim Rollo with Simon Forsdick diving in with a header.

The Yeltz made a good start to the second half with both Chris Smith and Forinton going close from Pope’s 54th minute long ball and Dave Haywood’s 63rd minute drive was gathering in by Evans. But as the second half began to resemble the first, Tony Bird placed a 66th minute free-kick past the post and a 68th minute cross from Walsh was headed back across goal by Bird with Amos tidying up once more.

Pope blasted a 72nd minute free-kick straight at Evans after Cowley was brought down on the edge of the area and three minutes later another Cowley cross was helped past his own post by Rollo.

Bath finally forced an 80th minute equaliser with WALSH prodding the ball inches over the line in a scramble from Bird’s corner with the ball first rebounding off Walsh and Amos. On 83 minutes Nicki Preston cleared Partridge’s dangerous cross before the Yeltz secured maximum points with Pope’s sting in the tail.

Haywood’s 87th minute corner was only pushed away by Evans under pressure for delighted POPE to thunder home the ball from six yards.

Halesowen Town: Coleman; Cooper, Haywood, Preston, Pope, Knight, Cowley, C. Smith (Skidmore 86), Forinton, Amos, Forsdick. Unused Subs: N. Smith, Pierpoint, Johnson, Teraud.

Bath City: Evans; Rollo, S. Jones, Coupe, G. Jones, Harris, Bird, Holloway (Clarke 78), Walsh, Partridge, Power (Davidge 62). Unused Subs: Shackell, Sandell, York.

Referee: D. Gratton (Solihull)

Attendance: 403
Booked: G. Jones, Davidge.
Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Nick Amos

NLP Man of the Match: Alex Cowley

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