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12 Mar 2011 SLP Halesowen Town 1-1 Swindon Supermarine PDF Print E-mail
Zamaretto League Premier Division – Saturday, 12th March 2011
Halesowen Town 1 Swindon Supermarine 1
Hard-working Halesowen cast aside their off-the-field uncertainties and knuckled down to earn a point with a gutsy performance, writes David Johnson.  Despite the encouraging display, the single point was unfortunately not enough to lift Halesowen off bottom of table and ultimate safety slipped further from sight after other results ended unfavourably.
Gareth Davies was on hand to clear in the fifth minute after dangerous Mitchell Bryant crossed from the right. From that point, Halesowen imposed themselves on the game to dominate the first period and were thwarted on at least four occasions with Swindon having little to offer before the interval.
Following their own playing budget cuts, mid-table Swindon were led by new player-manager Gary Horgan after recently losing key players and former manager Mark Collier.
Visiting goalkeeper Jamie Rae blocked with his legs in the 12th minute after towering Jemiah Richards turned well to shoot from a wide angle and Justin Nisbett blasted the rebound over the bar. Richards then missed a good opportunity in front of goal from his captain Michael McGrath’s 17th minute corner. McGrath led his team brilliantly all afternoon and was unlucky to see ‘keeper Rae grab his low drive from 25-yards at the second attempt after 28 minutes.
The Yeltz went closer still in the 32nd minute in the best chance of the half when goalkeeper Louis Connor’s long clearance bounced through for Andre Hinds to lob towards goal and Swindon stopper Rae back-pedalled to claw away the ball under his crossbar. Nisbett played the ball back across goal for McGrath to place his shot, only for Rae to make a splendid save with his legs and another follow-up from Rory Curtis was somehow scrambled clear again. Hinds then dragged a 37th minute half-volley just wide. Seconds before the interval Swindon’s Luke Hopper chipped into the net from a through ball, but was ruled offside.
The start of the second half proved to be a different story with ‘Marine looking far livelier, just as the half-time break had similarly inspired Chippenham earlier in the week. Bryant drove just wide in the 48th minute and Jack Hopper side-footed a 25-yard effort against the crossbar with goalkeeper Connor beaten in the 54th minute. A shot from Wells was pushed behind a minute later and Luke Hopper then headed over the bar from a Wells cross. But Halesowen still created chances with McGrath side-stepping two defenders to curl just wide after 58 minutes.
Swindon went ahead in the 61st minute when the home defence failed to cut out Horgan’s right-wing throw-in and the ball was allowed to reach Nick STANLEY and he unleashed an unstoppable drive from 22 yards. Another long range shot from Wells rolled just wide three minutes later.
A long delay after central defender Jon Beeden was stretchered off knocked the visitors off their stride and it was Halesowen who finished the game in the ascendancy. With five minutes remaining substitute Jem Mills burst clear but his effort was well wide.
The afternoon’s hard graft finally brought the Yeltz a well-deserved equaliser in the 87th minute with a neat move when Nisbett played the ball into the penalty area for HINDS to control and smash home his second goal of the week, securing the first home league point since November.
There was almost a dramatic home winner five minutes into injury time when Nisbett broke out of his own half and outpaced three defenders in a terrific run but was cruelly denied when his final shot struck the far post. Although McGrath followed up to crack home the rebound, the referee had already blown for an infringement as the ball unluckily struck an Halesowen hand as it dissected the supporting strikers after rebounding off the post.
Halesowen Town: Connor; Adams, Davies, Smith, Skidmore, McGrath (c), Curtis (Robinson 74), Folkes, Richards (Mills 52), Nisbett, Hinds. Unused Subs: Meakin-Richards, Ibhadon, Flower.
Swindon Supermarine: Rae; Horgan, Allen, Etheridge, Beeden (Jones 74), Bampton (c), Wells, L. Hopper, J. Hopper, Bryant, Stanley. Unused Subs: Harris, Robinson.
Referee: P. Thompson (Newbold Moor, Derbyshire)
Attendance: 206
 
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