Halesowen Town 0 Stratford Town 2 - Report

There was no dream start for Halesowen's new manager Rob Smith and his assistant Larry Chambers, as Stratford cruised to victory with two second-half goals against the depleted Yeltz.

Halesowen Town 0 Stratford Town 2
Halesowen Town 0 Stratford Town 2

Together with new signings Liam Truslove and Callum Coyle, goalkeeper Kieran Boucher made his home debut and he was called straight into action with a 3rd minute save to push away from Jamie McAteer, to earn Stratford a corner.

As the Yeltz settled, a good 6th minute build-up led to Lewis Reilly turning in front of goal, but his shot was blocked. Reilly then headed Asa Charlton's cross onto the top of the net two minutes later. But Stratford created the better chances and a low shot from man-of-the-match Wilson Carvalho drifted just wide after 20 minutes.

Boucher made a fantastic save to tip a goal-bound 25th minute shot from Albi Skendi onto the bar and a 39th minute free-kick from William Grocott curled just wide. In a further spell of pressure immediately ahead of half-time, Boucher made another great save to block Carvalho's low shot with his legs.

With Halesowen distinctly second-best after the break, Stratford took their chances to skip to a comfortable two-goal victory. At the start of the second period, McAteer headed Grocott's free-kick just over the bar.

Stratford finally took the lead when Carvalho slotted home a 59th penalty after young Joab Wheatley clipped the legs of visiting centre-forward Michael Taylor. The visitors then deservedly doubled their lead in the 71st minute when Boucher failed to gather a cross, allowing Grocott to lift the ball into the net.

There was little response from the hosts - who have now scored only once in seven league games - although Truslove's 80th minute low shot was turned away for a corner at the end of a disappointing afternoon.

Halesowen Town: Kieran Boucher; Joab Wheatley, Jack Kelly, Ivor Lawton, Danny Bragoli (c), Asa Charlton, Lewis Reilly, Callum Coyle, Lee Hughes (Roland Agbor 68), Liam Truslove (Dean Hawkshaw 83), Tobias Hayles-Docherty. Subs Not Used: Jack Rea, Samuel Tonks, Dominic Hill.

Stratford Town: Ross Etheridge, Christopher Cox, Kynan Isaac, James Fry (c), Jamie McAteer, Jordan Williams, Lewis Wilson, Albi Skendi, Michael Taylor, William Grocott (Ross Oulton 89), Wilson Carvalho. Subs Not Used: Anare Olunkanmi, Claudio Dias, Josh Cooke, Taylor Morrison.

Referee: Neil Pratt Attendance: 412

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