Express & Star

Halesowen Town 4 St Ives Town 3 - Report

McKauley Manning struck a brace as Halesowen won an exhilarating seven goal feast of football for the final home game of the season against the division’s top scorers.


Yeltz manager Russ Penn shared his thoughts on a thrilling game “We knew it could be a high scoring game - we weren’t quite on it defensively today but it’s the best attacking performance since I’ve been here. There were some fantastic individual performances today. I have a 100% record at home now - we want to be challenging for the top 5 next season.”

Halesowen’s first minute corner was cleared by Jonathan Edwards and the tone of an exciting afternoon was set when Kieran Donnelly was put clear after 7 minutes, courtesy of Miracle Okafor, but he dragged his shot wide.

MANNING soon put the Yeltz ahead by burying a low powerful 8th minute shot from the left edge of the penalty area past goalkeeper Sam Bentley in an energetic start from the hosts. Donnelly then headed over the bar from Manning’s 16th minute corner and Jak Hickman’s 20th minute free-kick drifted just wide as the action continued.

Kai Lissimore missed a great 25th minute opportunity to double Halesowen’s lead when he fired over the bar from just eight yards in front of goal after Okafor and Donnelly did well.

The Yeltz paid the price as the high-scoring Saints grabbed the lead with two goals in three minutes. Home goalkeeper Dan Platt lost the ball low down from a through ball allowing Jonathan EDWARDS to turn and chip over Platt into the net for a 27th minute equaliser. Amaru KAUNDA then fired past Platt to give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute after another through ball carved open the Yeltz defence.

MANNING’s superb second goal brought Halesowen level at 2-2 in the 34th minute when he spotted a gap in the St Ives defensive wall to place the ball into the net from a 25 yard free-kick.

Incisive Ives regained the lead at 3-2 in the 36th minute with a superb hard and low long range shot from Theo ALEXANDROU for their third goal in ten minutes.

However, Halesowen managed to turn the game around with two more second half goals to take all three points. The second period started in the same vein as Halesowen won two early corners and Okafor then flicked wide following a great 50th minute right-flank cross from Hickman as another chance went begging.

In end-to-end action, the Yeltz drew level at 3-3 in the 55th minute when Ryan WYNTER glanced a header into the net off a defender from Hickman’s corner.

Kaunda put wide from Platt’s mistake before the Yeltz grabbed their 66th minute winner when HICKMAN’s cross from the right took a deflection off a defender to beat goalkeeper Bentley. Okafor then headed wide from Hickman’s 77th minute cross at the end of another flowing move and Okafor drove over the bar three minutes later.

Home goalkeeper Platt had already made a great 67th minute save and an 84th minute thunderbolt from Saints’ substitute Myles Cowling cannoned back off the crossbar with Platt beaten. Platt then parried away an 89th minute effort from Alexandrou as the visitors sought a late equaliser.

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt (c); Reece Mitchell, McKauley Manning, Todd Parker, Ryan Wynter, Thomas Taylor (Luke Redfern 58), Jak Hickman, Kai Lissimore, Miracle Okafor (Ryan Boothe 82), Caine Elliott (Jack Holmes 68), Kieren Donnelly. Subs Not Used: Josh Ezewele, Richard Gregory.

St Ives Town: Samuel Bentley; Patrick Casey, Aaron Smith (Jonathan Herd 70), Michael Richens (c), Joshua Tomlinson, Jake Hutchings, Daniel Barton (Myles Cowling 18), Luke Harris (Kai Fifield 84), Jonathan Edwards, Amaru Kaunda, Theo Alexandrou. Subs Not Used: None.

Referee: Tom Wall Attendance: 1,206

Booked: Kaunda (32), Casey (40), Fifield (87), Boothe (90)

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