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05 Apr 2008 SLP Halesowen Town 4-4 Swindon Supermarine PDF Print E-mail

British Gas Business Football League - Premier Division – Saturday, 5th April 2008

Halesowen Town 4 Swindon Supermarine 4

Halesowen’s title dreams were severely dented after throwing away a comfortable 4-1 lead in a final nine minutes of madness.

The Yeltz were on course to open up a useful points gap at the top of the table with second and third-placed Team Bath and King’s Lynn contesting a 0-0 draw but the catastrophic collapse - in which the seemingly well beaten Swindon even saw a last minute penalty saved by Mark Osborn – may well change the whole outcome of the season.

Swindon goalkeeper Tom King raced out of goal to deny Eldon Maquemba and Dean Brennan in the 4th minute but after seven minutes the shaky home defence almost let in David Stroud after goalkeeper Osborn failed to claim, but Osborn recovered to smother the ball. An excellent 10th minute cross from Andy Hall then found Ikechi Anya and he set up Brennan to strike the post from five yards out. Darren Caskey’s 27th minute corner was then helped on by Stuart Pierpoint but Brennan volleyed straight at goalkeeper King.

Supermarine snatched a 30th minute lead when a terrible mix-up in the home defence saw Dennis Pearce and Nick Amos both leave the ball and Ashley EDENBOROUGH fired home from 15 yards for the first of three goals in a six-minute spell.

The goal kick-started Halesowen into life and they levelled just two minutes later when Caskey’s cross picked out BRENNAN to chest down and slam home his 20th goal of the season at the far post. Halesowen then took the lead on 36 minutes when Caskey floated over a delightful 25-yard free-kick for Eldon MAQUEMBA to head home in space.

However, the hosts had a 39th minute defensive let off when Osborn was almost caught out by David Stroud’s deflected shot, but he managed to touch the ball against the crossbar and Stuart Pierpoint was perfectly positioned to tidy up by scooping clear off the line with two attackers in attendance. Seconds before the interval Brennan and Maquemba were put clean through on goal but Brennan struck his shot straight at goalkeeper King.

Andy HALL eased Halesowen to a third goal on 51 minutes by powering home a header after Ikechi Anya skipped past his marker to cross from the left. But another chance was missed on the hour when Jay Denny’s incisive pass put Maquemba clear only for King to make another fine blocking save. Nick AMOS then put Halesowen into a seemingly unassailable 74th minute lead by heading home his first goal of the season from Caskey’s corner - until the inexplicable late capitulation that defied belief.

Although three late substitutions didn’t help matters going forward and in possession, it was the home defence that suddenly fell apart in the catastrophic collapse. Pierpoint put himself in danger of being suspended for the play-offs by needlessly picking up his 9th yellow card of the season on 75 minutes for a challenge on centre-forward Mark Draycott.

DRAYCOTT responded by reducing the arrears with an 81st minute lob over Osborn after Pierpoint tripped and slipped on the edge of the penalty area. Halesowen were then made to sweat when DRAYCOTT made it 4-3 by sweeping home off the far post four minutes later.

The defensive horror show continued with Swindon awarded a 90th minute penalty for handball. However Osborn appeared to have rescued the day by making a fine save low down to his left to keep out Danny Allen’s spot-kick. But Halesowen were caught all at sea again from the resulting corner when Pierpoint stayed on the line to play three attackers onside in space and a back-heel flick allowed substitute Richard KEAR to drill home to make it 4-4 and complete an astonishing comeback.

Halesowen Town: Osborn; Cowley, Pearce, Pierpoint, Amos, Denny (Maynard 80), Hall, Caskey, Brennan (Piotrowski 80), Maquemba (Abbey 65), Anya. Unused Subs: Perpetuini, Hamilton.

Swindon Supermarine: King; Lapham, Allen, Horgan (Heal 60), Henry, Thompson, Edenborough (Stanley 69), Wood, Draycott, Taylor, Stroud (Kear 69). Unused Sub: Howell.

Referee: S. J. Barrow (Tamworth)

Attendance: 460

Booked: Allen (6), Denny (49), Horgan (58), Pierpoint (74), Draycott (88)

Man of the Match: Darren Caskey

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