Match Report by ROD ABRAHAMS to follow, Photos by GRANTY & WOODY
EARLY EXIT FOR TOWN IN LEAGUE CUP
STRATFORD TOWN 0 HALESOWEN TOWN 1
LUKE YATES 43
Stratford Towns defence of the Southern League Cup fell at the first hurdle, beaten 1-0 by Halesowen Town, at the Arden Garages Stadium, and the visitors could have won by more as they missed a host of good chances to put the result beyond doubt, as they were the superior side and were dominate throughout.
There were 3 new players in the Town squad, Richard Platt from Welling, Charley O’Keefe from Stevenage, and Abraham Eze. But it was a lacklustre effort from Stratford who lacked creativity and only created one chance, as they pumped a succession of long balls forward to the front men. Stratford had only one goal attempt in the first half, and only one shot on target in the 90 minutes plus a straight red card for Liam Hughes 5 minutes from time which just about summed up Town’s night.
As early as the first minute, a long throw from James Bowen was flicked on by Jamie lucas and Town keeper Taylor had to tip it over. A poor clearance from the Town custodian went straight to Bowen but his lob from distance went wide. A smart save from Taylor kept out a free kick from Robbie Bunn, with 15 mins gone and Luke Yates should have put the Yeltz in front, but was wide from just 10 yds out when he should have scored. Another smart save from Taylor from a Robbie Bunn strike kept the scores level on the half hour mark, and a minute later Town had their best chance when Chris Wreh put Nabil Shariff in on goal down the right, but his shot beat Keeper Brendon Bunn but it hit the post and went to safety.
A cross from Joe Wheatley found Jamie Lucas but his header went just wide from a good position. Then the visitors broke the deadlock in the 43 minute, as they worked the ball down the inside right channel, a Lucas pass found Luke Yates, (the Yeltz MOTM), 10 yds out who drilled a shot into the bottom corner with no chance for Taylor.
In the 2nd half Town did do more going forward, but failed to get a shot on target. Abraham Eze's shot went wide and a strike from Callum Ball was deflected wide for a corner from which Tom Fishwick headed over on the hour mark. A shot for the Yeltz was deflected wide and a quick free kick from Robbie Bunn caught the Town defence napping as he put Yates in on goal but Taylor saved with his legs and the ball was cleared. Mitchell Glover was well wide with a shot from distance and a Shariff effort went the same way. Two free kicks from Glover were poor as they both went high and wide. The Yeltz had an effort deflected wide and a strike from sub Montel Gibson produced a good save from Taylor with 15 minutes left. Halesowen pressed for a 2nd goal but some determined defending by Town prevented any further goals.
With 5 minutes left Liam Hughes reacted to a hefty challenge from Josh Hawker, which resulted in a melee, with Hughes ending up getting a straight red card for his actions.
Stratford travel to play Halesowen in the 2QR of the FA Cup on the 21st September at the Grove and will be looking for a big improvement on this display.
Taylor, Platt, O’Keefe, Vann, (21 Ofoso) Fishwick, Hughes, Glover, Lawton, (52 Parker) Shariff, Ball, Wreh, (46 Eze)
Subs Not Used Oulton, Wilson
Bunn B, Wheatley, (65 Gibson), Bowen), Evans, Parsons, Piggott, Hawker, Bunn R, Lucas, (78 Molyneux) Yates, Forsyth,
Subs Not Used Ashmore, Sammons, Danks.
GA OT BS HWCWCIBFC OS YC RC
STRATFORD 7 0 0 1 1 4 7 0 1 1
BOLDMERE 17 8 1 0 7 6 5 3 1 0