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17th April '06
League Premier Division
Bath, Miller, McKeever (Randall 84), Preece, Tomkins,
Eckhardt, Noakes, Webb, Corbett (Bevan 69), Addis, Wilkinson.
Subs not used: Reid,
T-Ender Man of the Match: Tom
Webb; midfield man was at heart of City's best moves and now showing
he can run games at this level.
At last it's official: City
are staying up! This was another match where City looked like they
would struggle to find the net but Jody Bevan finally found his
scoring touch as a super sub, finding the net with his first touch
of the game. His sublime flicked header was enough to give City
all three points in a match where we had dominated possession but
rarely looked as if we could find the killer touch against a lacklustre
looking Halesowen team that offered little throughout the game.
The result was all important, and the win secures our Southern League
Premier future for another season, and will give Tim Harris a strong
platform to build for the next campaign. After the remarkable escape
he's conjured up at Meadow Park since taking over in late January
the fans will believe better times could be approaching.
City entered the match still needing that one point
for safety, but for Halesowen there was nothing meaningful to play
for apart from the small matters of personal pride and doubtless
for some of these players their future at the club. Halesowen did
manage a late rally to briefly make hopes of a play-off place flicker
back into life, but that died almost as soon as it started and does
little to disguise what the Brummies must feel is another disappinting
season of under achievement. The Yeltz had won the Christmas fixture
at their place on a freezing day, at least the weather was better
now and hopefully City's form would be too. However Tim Harris'
pleasure at bringing back Mark Preece into defence was tempered
by the loss of Chris Holland with a groin strain picked up at Salisbury.
Jody Bevan was also dropped to the bench, at least in part to rest
another strain, allowing Harris to reshuffle the side into a stronger
shape. McKeever moved into midfield and Michael Noakes got his first
start of the season with the youth player providing us with a recognised
left-back. If we were to seal survival today no one could claim
we've done it the easy way after suffering so many freak injuries
in the last few months. Halesowen were able to welcome back experienced
striker Howard Forinton and must have hoped his return would help
solve their chronic lack of goals.
|Addis tries to get past Yeltz's
City had some promising
openings though in the opening stages as both Webb and Wilkinson
showed some neat touches to make progress down the right wing. Miller
had worked himself some space and having been fed the ball he produced
a good cross that evaded the defence to fall to Michael Noakes running
in from the left. Unfortunately he was still stretching for the
ball and the youngster couldn't keep the ball down as it flew wide
of the post. The City side seemed to have better balance to it with
Noakes on the left and McKeever in midfield where the Irishman could
drift into attacking positions on both flanks. At one point he appeared
on the left and seemed to mesmerise the Halesowen full-back as he
shuffled the ball around his foot.
City looked to have found a way through the defence when Wilkinson
picked up on a stray defensive clearance and planted his header
through the centre back for Corbett to latch on to, only for the
linesman to flag for what could most kindly be described as a marginal
decision. At least that gave us another opportunity to enjoy the
dead ball kicking of the Halesowen keeper, already lampooned for
skin so orange it hinted at diet deficiencies and afflicted by an
odd rat tail haircut. The unfortunate Dean Coleman soon sent a distinctly
dodgey goal kick all of 30 yards where it was gratefully picked
up by Corbett. He slid the ball through to Addis but the poor forward
is really looking lost in front of goal and his heavy first touch
took him far too wide and his shot ended up in the side netting.
The match did not start with the greatest of promise as both teams
sliced early balls out of play. The Meadow Park pitch doesn't seem
to be responding well to all of the hours of love and care being
lavished on it and you can expect some wholesale groundwork over
the summer. It may be testament to our volunteers that the pitch
is playable at all after the winter, but having once been a muddy
bog it has now turned into a rough shale surface full of surprise
bobbles and wobbles. Perhaps the pitch is an easy excuse, but neither
side seemed to ever feel secure enough to get the ball down and
It was scrappy frustrating stuff and didn't really seem to have
any fluency to it. The ref didn't help with a rather fussy approach
that saw his whistle kept close to his mouth, penalising Wilko
for what looked to be a great challenge that won the ball cleanly.
At least it allowed us all a quick glimpse of what Halesowen had
to offer, all be it that it wasn't a great deal. Former Stourport
and Redditch winger Alex Cowley has often had a good game against
us and he looked a threat again today, at one point managing to
shake off Noakes and cut the ball back into the penalty area.
For a moment it looked as if the Brummies would score, but fortunately
their Chris Smith did what ours would have been hoping he'd do,
and promptly skied his chance into the car park.
While there wasn't really enough from either side to quite say
we were controlling the game we were certainly enjoying far more
of the ball. What we weren't managing to do though was really
find that final pass to unlock the Halesowen defence. For a brief
moment it looked as it Corbett had a glimpse of goal but he chose
instead to try and continue to try and beat the defender. When
the ball broke down the right Miller found the increasingly impressive
Mark Preece pushing forward and his overlapping run ended with
a fine cross that the defence only half cleared. The ball finally
fell to Webb but having reached the ball he screwed his shot wide
of the post.
City and the Yeltz in
fierce contest in an often busy midfield.
Like at Salisbury you
started to feel our best chance would come if we were awarded a
penalty, and like Saturday we should have been given one. City got
a free kick on the right for a trip on McKeever and Miller's cross
was well won by Corbett. He planted his header down into the box
where Mark Preece looked like reaching it until it was handled by
the Halesowen defender. Half the T-End screamed for the penalty
but both the ref and half the players were unsighted by the player's
body, and of course only a hopeless fool would expect the linesman
to help out his ref.
|Top: Yeltz's Karl Johnson
hides his embarssment as he gets done by Addis.
Btm: McKeever tries to latch on to Millers ball forward.
With just over 20 minutes left Tim
Harris decided his side needed livening up and Jody Bevan took to
the pitch. Given that he'd yet to score from open play since joining
from Cinderford Town in February this didn't exactly seem a move
set to change the game, but it did and did almost immediately. The
move started with Addis showing some much welcomed spark and getting
over a good cross from the right, but his ball was ahead of his
team mates. Both Webb and Noakes did well to keep the ball alive
on the left wing and Noakes played a good lofted ball down the wing
to McKeever. He jinked to create room and sent in a firmly hit cross.
From nowhere up popped super sub Jody Bevan who stole across his
marker at the near post. He got just a touch on the cross, delicately
flicking it over the keeper and beyond the post into the net from
a narrow angle. Jody has yet to really hit his best form at City
but has never stopped putting himself about, and at last he had
his reward. With his first touch he'd grabbed the goal that was
to take us through the finishing tape in the relegation race.
Travelling Lorry Count - 4
|| 13th (+2)
||sunny spells and
| by t-towel
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