Any optimists amongst the City faithful must have found this match
to have all of the bracing realism of a cold shower as the Tigers
were undone by an impressive Halesowen team that attacked with zest
and speed to expose all of our defensive frailties to pace and width.
After an entertaining and open first half the Brummies hit hard
with three excellent goals around the interval, with a late City
revival leading to a consolation goal that was always going to be
too little and too late to alter the result.
It didn't always look as if the scoreline would be so emphatic
as City started brightly enough, although even from the opening
few minutes you could see the Yeltz would be lively and dangerous
in attack. Simon Forsdick caught the eye with a couple of twinkling
runs that saw him trick his way past our defenders all too easily,
and only some wayward finishing prevented us going behind. Matt
Bath also did well to get a fingertip to a flying header and edge
the ball over the bar, a save so good the ref couldn't believe it
and awarded a goal kick.
We had chances of our own as well, and for all that Halesowen looked
smart in attack they looked unsure in defence with the keeper hesitant
to come out for anything near him. Reid went close as a corner broke
to him and his drive was deflected to balloon up and almost over
the keeper under pressure from Jason Welsh. Alex Sykes also made
the keeper stretch with a fantastic dipping and swerving effort
from distance, but the real pressure was in our own penalty area.
City survived a scare when Cowley turned Miller and his cross was
finally cleared after Lyndon Tomkins first attempt ricocheted straight
off an attackers legs. The goal was coming and just before the break
our defence simply evaporated as Cowley's slide rule pass cut us
in half and left Matt Lewis to slip the ball past Bath with a cool
The second half didn't get a whole lot better and within minutes
of the re-start City were further behind. Again the attack came
down the left through Cowley who left Miller trailing in his wake,
jinked past Thompson leaving him on the floor and then smashed a
low drive inside the near post. It looked simple and the goal really
deflated City players and fans, and with our heads down it was only
a short time before the match was out of our reach and a rout looked
possible. This goal was more route one as Paul Szewczyk won a header
and his flick neatly fell to Matt Lewis who strode into the box
to slot his second past the keeper.
One of the few positives City can take from this match was that
at least we did show a bit of pride and came back at the visitors,
and the introduction of Jody Bevan for the disappointing Luke Corbett
did seem to add some movement to the forward line. City could have
pulled one back as Lyndon got his head to a Webb corner, but Fowler
missed from close range having brought the ball down well on his
chest in the six yard box. Bevan also produced a good effort that
whistled over the bar, squeezing between defenders to fire in from
the left side of the penalty area after good work from fellow subs
Mustoe and Tustain.
Whilst Halesowen had taken the foot off the pedal we still rode
our luck a little at the back with Lewis turning Jamie Reid and
putting in a good shot that was only cleared on the line thanks
to a diving header from Tomkins. It was the big defender who salvaged
a little pride for City in the closing minutes, getting the vital
touch at the other end for a late goal. City had piled on pressure
with a string of corners that caused the Brummies problems, and
when Webb put the ball back across goal Lyndon was still on hand
to prod it in with a shin from close range.
T-Ender Match Snaps
After Saturday's 3-0
stroll past Cheshunt Tim Harris was able to name an unchanged side
for the first time this season.
"We'd be quite good
if we could keep up with that lot."
Our left flank is still
a problem without a recognised left-back. Miller filled the problem
slot today with Webb covering the right side, but whilst Cheshunt
were too poor to cause us problems Alex Cowley took full advantage
of Miller's discomfort. Tim Harris' options aren't obvious with
both Sykes and Adie Harris likely to struggle defensively.
This was the heaviest
defeat of Tim Harris' short City managerial reign and the first
time his Tigers' team have let in three goals under his stewardship.
It would be all too
easy to hit the panic button after this defeat, especially as the
Yeltz showed up our weakness down the left and our lack of pace
in defence. We must be realistic though. This side is stronger than
the one that started last year's campaign, but there are still half
a dozen or so sides in the division that are simply better than
us - we met one this afternoon.
This might be the day that some sense of order began to assert
itself in the SLP with many of the pre-season favourites getting
back on track. A Jack Defty brace helped King's Lynn to a 3-1
win over Stamford, while Bath City won away at their own ground
as they came back to beat Team Bath 2-1. Tiverton also produced
a thumping 3-0 win over Yate with two goals from Gary Holloway.
Banbury's strong start came to an end with Hitchin grabbing a
last minute winner from Darren French sealing a 3-2 win.
Chippenham and Cirencester are both still without a win so far
this season and they shared a goalless draw at Hardenhuish.