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Yeltz snatch agonising late leveller to deny improving Saints

Saturday, 01 September 2018 21:20

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Halesowen Town       1         St Neots Town       1

St Neots produced a marked improvement in their performance on their first ever league trip to Halesowen and were unlucky to concede an equalizing goal five minutes into added time, to return home with just one point.   In almost the last action of the game they seemed to lose concentration as they failed to defend a corner and a powerful header did the damage.   The two team changes saw Gary Wharton make his Southern League debut replacing Prince Mutswumguma whilst Johnny Herd returned at full back in place of Jack Keeble.   It was disappointing not to record a first away league victory of the season, but Manager Matt Clements was philosophical, happy to dwell on the performance rather than the result.   With Wharton leading the attack the side looked more balanced and confident – a good sign ahead of the start of two of the sides’ cup competitions in the next seven days.

In bright late summer sunshine, the visitors totally dominated the opening 25 minutes of the match and should have made their superior possession count.   Skipper Luke Knight had an early effort deflected for a corner and then Gary Wharton produced a burst of speed to beat home keeper Daniel Platt to a through ball but ran out of pitch before he could direct the ball towards goal.   Claudio Ofosu was terrorizing the home defense and he shot wide after a mazy run, and then Dion Sembie-Ferris had a header cleared off the line by Asa Charlton following a corner.   The same player then brought a full length save from the home keeper who was in constant action.    The only real Halesowen attack during this period saw Finlay Iron leave his line to head clear 20 yards from goal as Lee Hughes looked to take advantage of a square lying back four.   The home side opted for a first half substitution sending on Jordan Goddard for Daniele Bragoli and the only clear chance for them came after 33 minutes when Lee Hughes cut in from the left and an acrobatic volley by Ivor Lawton rebounded from the St Neots cross bar.   Wharton had as shot well gathered by Platt just before the interval and the visitors went to the break deservedly pleased by their first half performance.

Sembie-Ferris had the first second half chance going clear from an Ofosu cross field pass, but Platt pushed his effort away to be scrambled clear by Jack Kelly and then as Halesowen came more into the games Ahmed Ali headed wide when well placed.   St Neots hard work was rewarded after 58 minutes when Claudio Ofosu burst inside his marker and sent in a dipping shot that the keeper seemed to misjudge as it passed over his head and under the bar at the far post.   The lead was no less than St Neots deserved but it provoked a spell of Halesowen pressure and James Roberts should have scored when he went clear of the visiting defense, but his weak finish was easily gathered by Iron.   After 67 minutes Hughes got the ball in the St Neots net from a left-wing cross by Jack Kelly, but his effort was ruled out by an offside flag, but St Neots were still creating their own chances with Taylor Parr seeing a header from a Johnny Herd corner deflected over the cross bar.   Roberts then went close for the home side cutting in from the left and seeing his narrow-angled shot strike a goal post and rebound to safety.   With only a few minutes remaining St Neots sacrificed Wharton to send on substitute Jack Keeble as an additional defender in a bid to preserve their slender advantage.   A Kelly cross was mishandled by Iron, but Tom Wood was on hand to clear and as the match moved deep into added time it looked as though St Neots would hold on.   Then Ali curled a corner to the far post and Asa Charlton rose above the defense to head past Iron and secure an unlikely point for his side.

Claire Howes Photo Gallery can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/claire_howes/

 

St Neots:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Knight, Wood, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, O’Malley, Wharton, Peters, Ofosu

Subs:  Keeble (for Wharton 87 mins), Olaniran and Douglas.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Ofosu (58 mins)

 

Halesowen:  Platt, Bragoli, Kelly, Ali, Baker, Charlton, Hurst, Rea, Hughes, Roberts, Lawton

Subs:  Goddard (for Bragoli 30 mins), Gilpin (for Lawton 64 mins), Ebanks-Blake (for Hughes 72 mins), Ezewele, Tonks.

Cards:  Hughes (Y – 29 mins), Roberts (Y – 90 mins)

Goals:  Charlton (90+5 mins)

Referee:  Richie Watkins (Nuneaton)

Attendance:  358

 

John Walker

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