Halesowen Town 2 Soham Town Rangers 1

Second-placed Halesowen closed the gap at the top of the table after a narrow victory over rock-bottom Soham.

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Football Stock

But there was stalemate at the end of a hugely disappointing first period and it was basement side Soham who started more brightly to earn a 2nd minute corner. Hilton Arthur then made a good 4th minute run straight through the home defence to screw a shot wide and Alfie Connor’s 5th minute shot produced a fine save from home goalkeeper Dan Platt to earn the visitors another corner.

As Halesowen finally woke up, a 13th minute shot from Jack Holmes was deflected away and Ahmed Ali’s header rattled the crossbar from the resulting corner. Goalkeeper Finley Iron held onto Richard Gregory’s 20 yard free-kick after 18 minutes and Holmes did well to cross along the penalty area two minutes later but Gregory could only touch the ball at Iron.

The Yeltz continued to give away several needless corners and struggled to find their own passes although Kyle Finn put the ball in the Soham net after 24 minutes, only to be ruled offside. Just before the interval, Nat Kelly fired a snapshot straight at Iron and captain Paul McCone headed down with the ball bouncing up onto the Soham crossbar.

Halesowen produced a better performance after the half-time interval and earned two corners straight after the resumption. Nat KELLY then finally put the Yeltz ahead by heading home directly from a 49th minute Rob Evans corner. But the Greens continued to fight and Platt was forced to save at the feet of Ollie Ward just a minute later.

The Yeltz made it 2-0 with a fine 64th minute goal when Holmes laid the ball off for GREGORY to pick his spot and bury the ball past goalkeeper Iron from 15 yards.

At that stage the Yeltz looked most likely to add to their tally after creating several chances. A 70th minute header from substitute Richard Smith was cleared off the line and Holmes blasted the inviting rebound over the bar. McKauley Manning then fired a speculative 35-yard shot onto the top of the net and Iron raced out to deny Smith again in the 73rd minute.

But plucky Soham plugged away and were rewarded when Edgar Silva Morais made a strong run down the right and crossed for substitute Windsor ELUMELU to fire home in the 84th minute. Halesowen held the ball through the remaining minutes and a 90th minute effort from Holmes was saved by the legs of Iron.

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Rob Evans, Josh Ezewele, Ahmed Ali, Paul McCone (c), Nat Kelly, Kyle Finn, McKauley Manning (Toby Scott 79), Simeon Cobourne (Richard Smith 46), Richard Gregory, Jack Holmes. Subs Not Used: Levi Simms, Max Morris, Bradley Birch.

Soham Town Rangers: Finley Iron; Jesse Airen, Julien Saka, Alfie Connor, Max Mattless, Sidik Atcha, Edgar Silva Morais, Jon Kaye (c) (Andrew Blake 79), Ollie Ward, Declan Rogers (Windsor Elumelu 66), Hilton Arthur (Morgan Seeman 79).

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