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24 Mar 2008 SLP Team Bath 0-3 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail

British Gas Business Football League - Premier Division – Monday, 24th March 2008

Team Bath 0 Halesowen Town 3

Halesowen blew the title race wide open with a magnificent performance to skip above Team Bath to the top of the table and complete an impressive double against the previous title favourites.

Both sides had won their last four games and manager Morell Maison elected to name an unchanged starting line-up. Halesowen were inspired by the midfield engine-house of Jay Denny and Andy Hall and after early tentative exchanges Denny and Hall combined well in the 6th minute - but the hosts escaped with goalkeeper Jake Meredith stranded well out of his area. Defender Stuart Pierpoint then made an important challenge to stop lively Takumi Ake in the 7th minute and Halesowen had a let-off in the 13th minute when Ake was let through the central defence but his weak shot was gathered by goalkeeper Mark Osborn.

Halesowen took a 15th minute lead when a poor defensive header from a midfield ball forward only set Dean Brennan free on goal and he intelligently crossed for Eldon MAQUEMBA to do just enough to sidestep the challenge of goalkeeper Meredith and ease the ball into the net.

The shell-shocked students tried to respond but leading league scorer Sean Canham’s header fell just beyond central defender Steve Abbott after 27 minutes. At the other end, a great right-wing cross from Hall found Ikechi Anya but he blazed over the bar from ten yards after 35 minutes and Dean Brennan hit high on the half-volley two minutes later.

Anya continued to pose danger with several good runs down the left and forced a 38th minute corner. The Halesowen defence cleared a dangerous 41st minute corner after Osborn was unable to collect the high ball cleanly under impeding pressure and Marc Canham then hit a 20-yard shot straight at Osborn.

But Halesowen doubled their lead seconds before the interval when the nervy home defence again failed to deal with a good left wing cross from Anya, allowing the ball to fall to Hall on the right of the penalty area and he set up DENNY to convert with a fine 15-yard strike.

Team Bath started the second period with understanding urgency but made little headway with their own tendency to over-play and both Denny and Hall continuing to work like terriers in midfield. When necessary, the Yeltz defended solidly as a unit with Caskey making an important block on the hour and Alex Cowley making another fine block to deny Ake in the penalty area five minutes later.

Halesowen always looked likely to notch further goals on the break with Anya making a good 69th minute cross and Caskey surging forward two minutes later. On another 77th minute break, Hall played the ball out for Maquemba to blast just wide from a tight angle. The away support outnumbered the home fans by a considerable margin and the happy Halesowen followers engaged in vociferous chanting and sporting linguistics to urge their heroes to the final whistle.

The Yeltz capped a superb performance with an emphatic third goal in the 85th minute when a slip by right-back Matt Lock let in Maquemba down the left to cross for HALL to place home his first Halesowen goal from ten yards with the ball spinning home into the net off the far post.
With the clock running down, goalkeeper Osborn continued to provide a safe pair of hands and made a good save to deny substitute Joe Arnold in the 86th minute. But Halesowen almost added a fourth goal in the final minute as substitute Stuart Maynard broke down the right and squared the ball across goal as the visitors secured the vital victory over Team Bath with surprisingly consummate ease.

Team Bath: Meredith; Lock, Lamb, Abbott, Warren, El-Abd, Ake (Llewellyn 80), M. Canham, Smith (Arnold 45), S. Canham, Thomson (Perrott 53). Unused Subs: Adams, Cooper.

Halesowen Town: Osborn; Cowley, Pearce, Pierpoint, Amos, Denny, Hall, Caskey, Brennan, Maquemba (Maynard 87), Anya. Unused Subs: Perpetuini, Hamilton, Abassi, Peters.

Referee: J. Comley (Windsor)  

Attendance: 321

Booked: Lamb (34), Maquemba (52)

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