Halesowen Town 0 Leiston 0 - Report and pictures

Halesowen Town's chances of avoiding relegation from the Evo-Stik Premier Central appear increasingly remote after they could only draw 0-0 at home to Leiston.

The Yeltz missed a series of good chances in the second half to secure only their second league win of 2019.

Aaron Birch shot straight at Leiston keeper Marcus Garnham when well placed, while Josh Craddock headed wide from point blank range.

Noel Aitkens had the best chance for the visitors but saw his close-range shot saved by Dan Platt.

The Yeltz keeper also denied Kyle Hammond late on but in truth Leiston rarely threatened.

Instead it was the hosts who had the better of the 90 minutes, though they could not find a winner.

The result saw the gap to safety did close to eight points but with only six games remaining, their hopes of beating the drop look highly unlikely.

Player-boss Lee Hughes made three changes from the team beaten 5-1 at Lowestoft on Tuesday night, one of which included taking himself out of the matchday squad entirely.

The odds already stacked against them, Halesowen's afternoon could not have got off to a worse start with Callam Mendez-Jones injured inside the opening five minutes.

That forced an early substitution and change of tactics from the hosts, who switched to a flat back four after starting the game with a three.

It was Mendez-Jones's replacement, Aaron Gilpin, who would ultimately have Halesowen's best chance of the first-half.

A crunching tackle by Jamie Molyneux deep in the Leiston half saw the ball run to Gilpin, who should have done better than hurriedly blaze over from the right-hand side of the box.

That came during a busy opening spell which saw no shortage of commitment from the Yeltz but a notable lack of quality.

As it was, Platt was the only keeper tested seriously before the break, the Halesowen shot-stopper saving impressively with his legs after Atkins had redirected Joe Jefford's cross toward goal.

His opposite number, Garnham, did not have to make a save until almost the hour mark.

Even then, Birch should not have given him a chance but when the ball dropped invitingly for the Halesowen midfielder eight yards out, he sent the finish straight at Garnham, before Jack Kelly blazed the rebound over the bar.

Both Garnham and Yeltz defender Sam Griffiths were booked after a scuffle following a free-kick during a brief moment of drama.

Heading into the final 20 minutes, it was the hosts who began to take more control and Craddock should have given them the lead when he headed a Birch free-kick wide from point-blank range.

Kieran Morris wasted another good chance when he headed straight at the keeper, while Craddock then sent a shot into the side-netting.

Platt was then called into rare action when he kept out Hammond's long-range piledriver.

Halesowen's final chance came from a stoppage time corner but after a scramble in the six yard box, the ball drifted wide.

Teams:

Yeltz (3-5-1-1) Platt, Mendez-Jones (Gilpin 5), Morris (c), Charlton, Ekongo, Lawton, Birch (Nabi 90), Kelly, Griffiths, Craddock, Molyneux (Till 82) Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, Marselia.

Leiston (4-4-2): Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Knights, Jefford, Bullard, Rutterford (Eagle 55), Aitkens, Blake, Docherty, Cheetham (Lawrence 55) Subs not used: Bloom, Davies, Kiwomya.

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