Halesowen 0 Stourbridge 3 - Report and pictures

Two goals from Luke Benbow eased league leaders Stourbridge to victory in the eagerly awaited "Number 9 Derby" in front of a bumper Boxing Day attendance of almost 2,000 at struggling Halesowen.

Stourbridge made the perfect start when Benbow was left unmarked to flick home a back header from Robert Thompson-Brown's deep free-kick after just 55 seconds.

The Yeltz reacted well to the early set-back but Lee Hughes took an extra touch too many when free in the penalty area after 10 minutes and was crowded out by the Stourbridge defence.

A low free-kick from Joel Taylor then crept just past goalkeeper Niall Maher's post and Dan Sweeney's 23rd minute free-kick fell just inches wide.

Leon Broadhurst glanced a 23rd minute header just wide and Halesowen's Matt Curley cleared a 29th minute corner off the line.

The Glassboys went mightily close again in the 40th minute when Greg Mills was sent clear and cut back inside to beat both the last defender and goalkeeper Dan Platt, only to see the ball rebound back off the far post.

Benbow's 20 yard free-kick then flashed just wide in the final minute of an absorbing first half.

After the interval Taylor's floated cross dropped just wide of the Stourbridge goal and Taylor then broke free from Aris Christophorou's poor throw-in to force a corner for Halesowen with Hughes nodding just wide.

Joe Fitzpatrick's 59th minute free-kick was turned over the bar by visiting goalkeeper Maher.

Livewire Benbow went close again when he fired into the side-netting after an hour before the Glassboys wrapped up the points with two further late goals, despite Halesowen being in contention for much of the game.

Busy Aaron Forde provided an excellent 80th minute cross-field pass to pick out unmarked Kaiman Anderson and he finished neatly past advancing goalkeeper Platt.

Benbow then made it 3-0 by rolling home his second goal of the game in the 86th minute from a second rebound after Platt made a fine double save from Forde's long range shot and then from Broadhurst in front of goal.

Goal-shy Halesowen went close to a consolation in the dying seconds when Kieran Morris planted a free header over the bar and Fitzpatrick's shot was saved by Maher.

Teams

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Matt Curley, Sam Griffiths, Callam Mendez-Jones, Kieran Morris, Jack Rea (c) (Danny Bragoli 88), Joe Fitzpatrick, Callum Coyle (Mathias Bakare 46), Lee Hughes (Jack Kelly 75), Dan Sweeney, Joel Taylor.

Subs Not Used: Asa Charlton, Harry Higginson.

Stourbridge: Niall Maher; Aaron Hayden, Aris Christophorou, Paul McCone (c), Darryl Westlake, Aaron Forde, Kaiman Anderson, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Benbow (Chekaine Steele 90+3), Robert Thompson-Brown (Bradley Birch 75), Greg Mills.

Subs Not Used: Stuart Pierpoint, Peter Hawk, Jake Evans.

Referee: Ollie Williams Attendance: 1994

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