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14 Jan 2012 SLSW North Leigh 4-2 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail

Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West – Saturday, 14th January 2012

North Leigh 4 Halesowen Town 2

Ben Haseley marked his Halesowen arrival with an early debut goal and Nathan Jackson’s spectacular effort fired the visitors ahead at halftime but the promising lead disappeared as North Leigh hit three late goals. Michael McGrath’s dismissal continued the unhappy start to 2012 as Halesowen ended with ten men for the third consecutive game in a fourth straight league defeat.

Louis Connor also returned to answer the latest ongoing goalkeeping problem, although it was Morgan Williams and John Mills who notched a brace apiece for the hosts on Halesowen’s first visit to the picturesque rural Oxfordshire home of North Leigh.

In the first couple of minutes Williams fired high over the crossbar and a shot from Brian Bowles was blocked for a corner as North Leigh started brightly.

Former Heath Hayes striker HASELEY marked an impressive debut by giving the Yeltz a 10th minute lead after latching onto a through ball and holding off defender Andy Caton before clipping over goalkeeper Sam Warrell. Warrell then punched clear McGrath’s 17th minute corner and another McGrath cross was cleared five minutes later. A neat flick in the penalty from Nathan Jones then almost put Haseley free on goal again after half an hour.

But North Leigh equalised in the 31st minute when WILLIAMS lurked at the far post and managed to steer a deep left wing cross from Michael Hopkins into the opposite top corner of the net, despite the ball just about to run out of play. Visiting captain Brendan Kelly did well to head clear Hopkins ’ dangerous cross for a 35th minute corner and stand-in goalkeeper Connor tipped Tom Franklin’s header over the bar from Toby Clarke’s 38th minute cross.

The Yeltz regained their lead with a dramatic strike after 40 minutes when JACKSON spotted goalkeeper Warrell off his line and unleashed a fully 30 yard shot with stranded Warrell only helping the ball into the net.

After the interval goalkeeper Connor grabbed a cross from Mills at the second attempt but then escaped when Mills was ruled offside in the 52nd minute after netting a rebound. Connor then saved a Williams shot low down in the 57th minute with his captain Kelly motionless on the ground due to a head injury, leading to a lengthy delay.

MILLS equalised for the Millers again at 2-2 by slotting past Connor in the 73rd minute after being put clear on goal. The home side then finished strongly to easily claim victory after Halesowen’s McGrath was needlessly dismissed with a straight red card in the 76th minute. McGrath initially went to ground theatrically in the penalty area and then squared up to central defender Franklin in a head-to-head confrontation to continue Halesowen’s red card curse.

North Leigh took advantage and finally went ahead for the first time in the 84th minute when a shot from Elliott Osbourne-Ricketts rebounded for WILLIAMS to fire home his second goal of the game. Halesowen substitute Naveed Arshad struck over the bar in the final minute before North Leigh made it 4-2 deep in injury time. MILLS worked free to also register his second goal with the simple task of rounding Connor and tapping into an empty net to inflict a tenth defeat in fourteen league games for Halesowen.

North Leigh: Warrell; Hole (c), Organ (Willoughby 82), Clarke (Burnell 74), Franklin, Caton (Owen 90), Mills, Bowles, Williams, Osbourne-Ricketts, Hopkins . Unused Sub: Flanagan.

Halesowen Town: Connor; Mason, Loney, Folkes, Kelly (c), Barnfield, Bruce, Jackson, Jones (Wood 82), Haseley (Arshad 82), McGrath. Unused Subs: Saunders, Flower.

Referee: C. Wicks (Reading)

Attendance: 84

Booked: Barnfield (55), Osbourne-Ricketts (57), Franklin (78)

Sent Off: McGrath (76)

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