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23 Mar 2010 SLP Halesowen Town 3-3 Oxford City PDF Print E-mail

Zamaretto League Premier Division – Tuesday, 23rd March 2010

Halesowen Town 3 Oxford City 3

Halesowen were just unable to find a vital late winner to keep up their play-off hopes despite fighting back from a two goal deficit at the interval.  Lee Fowler made his debut and substitute goalkeeper Ollie Barton was named on the bench but Halesowen were forced into a late midfield change after Henry Eze pulled up with a knee injury in the pre-match warm-up.

A 5th minute shot from Scott Rickards was saved by goalkeeper Richard Knight but otherwise it was a disappointing first half performance from the home side. Oxford enjoyed the better of the first period and Mark Bell’s low 11th minute free-kick skidded on the wet surface before being touched around the post by goalkeeper Nick Bussey.

Oxford took a 19th minute lead when Bussey dropped a high hanging cross under little pressure, leaving Lee STEELE with a simple tap-in. With the visitors on top, Steele crossed for James Clarke to plant a free header at Bussey a minute later and Bell made a good run before shooting at Bussey in the 21st minute. The impressive Bell then struck another excellent curling free-kick from 22 yards against the outside of the Halesowen post in the 29th minute.

Oxford cemented their first-half dominance by taking a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes when danger-man Bell crossed for Steele to head down and Harry HARDING turned the ball home on the goal-line. Just before the interval Bussey spilled another shot from substitute Mark Janes but his defence hacked the ball clear.

The Yeltz battled back into the game in a lively second period and Oxford posed less of a danger after the break with troublesome Bell and Steele both substituted. In the 48th minute Liam Daly met a Rickards corner but his penalty claim was denied as the ball struck a defender’s midriff.

Oxford almost wrapped up the game with a third goal in the 53rd minute when Harding was unlucky to see his free-kick from the edge of the penalty area hit the underside of the crossbar and rebound out into safety. City paid the price when Halesowen pulled a goal back when unmarked Stefan MOORE headed home Alex Cowley’s 59th minute cross.

RICKARDS was left in space to convert and level at 2-2 when Danny Edwards swept over a left wing cross in the 65th minute with the home defence drawn towards tracking Moore.

With Halesowen now looking more likely to find a winner, the home defence cleared a couple of corners. But Oxford delivered a sucker punch to regain the lead on the break as the home defence failed to clear Harding’s left wing cross and Elliott SANDY was able to poke home from six yards in the 80th minute.

Undaunted Halesowen regrouped to equalise again at 3-3 in the 84th minute with MOORE hitting home his 33rd goal of the season from the penalty spot just beyond the reach of goalkeeper Knight after Delroy Gordon was penalised for handball. But Halesowen were unable to find the crucial fourth goal to claim all three points and it was Oxford who went close again in the final minute when substitute Jonathan Douglas hooked just wide.

Halesowen Town: Bussey; Cowley, Morley, Turner, Daly, Denny, Blenkinsopp (Thorpe 60), Rickards, Moore, Fowler, Edwards (Griffiths 81). Unused Subs: Connor, Barton.

Oxford City: Knight; Ballard, Davis, Clarke (Savage 62), Gordon, Gunn, Bell (Janes 32), Sandy, Malone, Steele (Douglas 45), Harding. Unused Subs: Brooks, Moses.

Referee: C. Marsden (Leicester)

Attendance: 247

Booked: Daly (11), Bussey (31), Ballard (36), Fowler (53), Gordon (84)

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