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16 Apr 2011 SLP Didcot Town 1-1 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail
Zamaretto League Premier Division – Saturday, 16th April 2011
Didcot Town 1 Halesowen Town 1
Halesowen were denied an heroic victory by a 94th minute equaliser in a remarkably spirited performance at Didcot’s npower Loop Meadow, writes David Johnson.  Despite being already relegated, the Yeltz put local fans through an afternoon described as “agony” as the relegation-haunted hosts failed to inspire their nervous followers. Indeed, Halesowen remain unbeaten on Oxfordshire soil, with the late leveller denying Halesowen the double and being the only goal conceded on three trips to the county this season.
Keen to boost their survival hopes, Didcot started as firm favourites on the hard surface. But with Halesowen playing for pride, a 5th minute cross from the right from Flavien Chambaud was cleared off the head of Andrew Westwood by Didcot’s Andy Gunn. Didcot responded with shots from Elliot Osbourne-Ricketts and Jordan Tabor blocked after Adam Robinson headed away for an 8th minute corner. Morgan Williams was then halted on a long run through the centre of the Halesowen defence by Luke Adams.
Gareth Davies came mightily close to giving the Yeltz a 12th minute lead when his 20-yard half volley struck the post with goalkeeper Sam Warrell beaten as the visitors enjoyed their fair share of play. For the hosts, Tabor curled a 20-yard free-kick around the defensive wall but just wide of the post.
Halesowen’s good spell of pressure midway through the first half was rewarded by a shock opening goal in the 23rd minute when captain Mark Smith played a neat ball forward for Kevin MONCHEU to roll the ball into the net past Warrell to claim his first Halesowen goal.
With the Railwaymen desperate to get back into the game, the pressure on the Halesowen rearguard intensified before the break. Osbourne-Ricketts floated in a delightful 26th minute cross for Michael Bartley to head wide and Osbourne-Ricketts hit a long range effort over the bar two minutes later. Another effort from dangerous Osbourne-Ricketts was deflected wide with visiting goalkeeper Simon Flower confidently grabbing the resulting corner after half-an-hour. Just before the half-time whistle, Halesowen’s defence cleared a goalmouth scramble with more stout defending and Osbourne-Ricketts struck yet another attempt wide.
The pattern of play continued in the second half with Didcot struggling to find a breakthrough against a solid defence despite forcing two corners in the 56th minute and Morgan Williams flashing a cross just wide at the end of a fine run down the left.
At first glance it appeared that Alex Stanley had levelled when he rose to convert a 70th minute free-kick but he was shown a yellow card for handling the ball past Flower. Didcot then changed formation to chase the game with a 74th minute substitution, but their task was made even more difficult when Stanley was sent off for his second bookable offence after bringing down Anthony Bruce on the edge of his own penalty area in the 79th minute. Rory Curtis fired the resulting direct free-kick just over the bar.
With time running out, Halesowen’s first real effort of the second period came after 85 minutes when Moncheu played the ball across to substitute Keenan Meakin-Richards but Warrell saved with ease. Both Halesowen goalkeeper Flower and Meakin-Richards then received bookings for time-wasting. Home substitute Josh Huggins looked lively and he shot just wide from the edge of the area as the game entered stoppage time.
Just as all seemed lost for the ten-man Railwaymen, Huggins delivered a left wing corner into a crowded goalmouth for BARTLEY to head home in the 4th minute of injury time to rescue a vital relegation point and break Halesowen’s hearts after their brave display.
Didcot Town: Warrell; Gunn (Huggins 74), Vincent, Tabor, A. Williams, Stanley, Heapy (c), M. Williams (Bedwell 86), Bartley, Lawrence, Osbourne-Ricketts. Unused Subs: Scott.
Halesowen Town: Flower; Adams, Robinson, Roofe, Smith (c), Davies, Chambaud (Meakin-Richards 80), Bruce, Moncheu, Curtis, Westwood. Unused Subs: Jarrett, Ibhadon.
Referee: T. Wood
Attendance: 151
Booked: Westwood (68), Stanley (70), Flower (86), Meakin-Richards (90)
Sent Off: Stanley (79)
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