Dominant Stratford secure 3 points with accomplished win at Halesowen
By Andy Chilton
Second half strikes from Wilson Carvalho and Will Grocott seals victory over the Yeltz
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Halesowen Town v Stratford Town
Saturday 01 December, 2018 3.00 pm at the Grove,
EvoStik Southern Central Premier Division
* O brave new world……………..
Halesowen 0 Stratford 2 (HT 0-0)
A cultured, confident and assured performance saw Stratford continue their good run of form as they returned to league competition. Now in 12th position with games in hand the club can face Christmas and the New Year in good heart.
Halesowen Town at The Grove is a proper old-fashioned ground with excellent seated accommodation and remnants of traditional terracing. In other ways the club is clearly embracing the modern with a strong sense of community at the heart of its operation.
On the mildest of November days Stratford, in their MTF Finance sponsored tangerine strip, kicked off up the slope towards The Shed. One change from the South Shields fixture saw Ross Etheridge return in goal on a season long loan from Nuneaton. Halesowen, under a new management duo of Rob Smith and Larry Chambers, included debutants Callum Coyle and Liam Truslove.
The first half was without goals, bookings or substitutions but not lacking in incident. Stratford had the better of it. As early as the third minute Wilson found Isaac whose dangerous cross was diverted for a corner. Following the corner McAteer latched onto the ball and his close range shot was palmed away by keeper, Kieran Boucher.
Later in the half (36 minutes) McAteer was nearly on the score sheet again as his header from a Grocott corner was flapped at by Boucher before scraping the far post. In between time (25 minutes) Skendi strode through the middle before releasing a powerful left foot shot. This time Boucher was equal to the task palming the ball onto the crossbar and to safety.
Stratford was winning battles all over the pitch; at the back; and in mid-field where Fry excelled with some incisive passing. This in turn released Isaac, Cox and Carvalho to test the stubborn Halesowen back line.
With the slope now in their Town started the second half on the front foot. In truth Etheridge, in the Town goal, had barely a shot of note to deal with in the whole 90 minutes. It took until 58 minutes for Stratford to take charge. After sustained pressure Lewis Wilson found the unusually subdued Mike Taylor deep in the Halesowen area. As the powerful striker turned to shoot his legs were taken from under him. Wilson Carvalho made no mistake from the spot.
On 68 minutes Will Grocott had a goal bound shot blocked but was on hand three minutes later to finish a sweeping Stratford move. The impressive Kynan Isaac broke forward and his close range shot was spilled by Boucher and Will snapped up this ‘unconsidered trifle.’
From that moment the result never looked in doubt despite a brief and late rally from the Yeltz. This was another well-managed game with the home supporters giving their favourites excellent vocal support.
For Stratford McAteer and Williams impressed again; Skendi ruled mid-field; Isaac had his best game in a Town shirt but club captain, Jimmy Fry, earned the Man of the Match award for his exemplary performance in the often unsung role as the ball winning and calming influence in the Town engine room.
Not surprisingly, Head of Football, Thomas Baillie, was in an ebullient mood after the game witnessing the progression of this excellent squad of players.
* O brave new world That has such people in’t. The Tempest Act 5 Scene 1
Tuesday 04 December Dicot Town (A) CSS League Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 08 December Barwell (H) EvoStik Southern Central Premier
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| Halesowen|| Stratford|
| 8||Goal Attempts|| 15|
| 5||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 2|
| 3||Corners Won|| 7|
| 5||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 13||Fouls Conceded|| 4|
| 2||Off Side|| 2|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 0|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Halesowen Yellow Card – Agbor
Stratford Yellow Cards – None