Halesowen 1 Sutton Colfield 1 - Report

Halesowen could only manage a draw against fourth-bottom Sutton Coldfield following a second-half fade-out after looking on course for a comfortable victory at the interval.

Yeltz draw
Yeltz draw

In a vital game, the Yeltz were attempting to secure a second-place Northern Premier Midlands finish, leading to a home play-off tie, but ended up staring at a fourth-placed finish and an away tie.

Home manager Paul Smith couldn’t hide his disappointment and admitted he felt deflated. “We controlled the first half but didn’t capitalise,” he said. “Sutton had a good 15-minute spell in the second half and we stopped being brave. I don’t really have the answers why our second half was so poor – it sums up the season. We let ourselves down, it’s four points dropped over Easter.”

Halesowen had all the possession in a dominant first period but initially came up against a defiant Royals defence. Lively Jack Holmes set up Kyle Finn to flick at goalkeeper Jonathan Brown after just 18 seconds and Chris Lait slotted into the team after a break of several weeks to earn a 13th minute corner before shooting over the bar two minutes later. In one-way traffic Halesowen then forced three corners in quick succession mid-way through the first half and Robbie Bunn crossed along the penalty area in the 32nd minute.

The Yeltz finally found a breakthrough to take a 38th minute lead when Jack Holmes skipped past two defenders and set up Kyle Finn to fire home. Late in the first half Brown made two good saves to deny Chris Lait.

But it all went wrong for the Yeltz in a dreadful second-half performance as the Royals were let back into the game. The first major warning sign came in the 63rd minute when home goalkeeper and captain for the day Dan Platt was forced to make a good save.

The Royals then equalised in the 68th minute when Nathan Caine played the ball for fellow substitute Callum King-Harmes to score with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area, less than a minute after arriving on the pitch. King-Harmes went close again in the 74th minute before Halesowen made a late triple substitution to try to regain the initiative.

Halesowen huffed and puffed to end the game mostly on top but clear chances remained few, although Brown made a good 77th minute save from home substitute Richard Smith.

Three minutes later Smith was unlucky when he headed a rebound into the net but was ruled offside after Brown initially made a good save. Brown then collected McKauley Manning’s 83rd minute cross well.

The Royals were almost gifted an unlikely 86th minute winner when Rob Evans’s weak back header fell to substitute Harry Crook, but he lofted his great chance just over the bar.

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