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Halesowen Town 0 Mangotsfield United 1
3:53pm Saturday 31st December 2011 in Sport
A NEIL Arndale penalty was the only goal as Mangotsfield United stole the points at Halesowen Town.
Arndale held his nerve to slot home from the spot just before the hour after Gareth Davies had clumsily felled Tom Knighton, following a mix-up between stand-in keeper Stephen Jackson and Mark Smith.
The Yeltz had numerous chances to level as both Lee Chilton and Michael Mcgrath hit the post.
Bredan Kelly also missed from a yard out while Gavin Saunders and Jason Wood had chances cleared off the line in a dramatic period of stoppage time.
Jackson was a late replacement for David Rimmer, who was drafted in last week for injured Paul Evans but was unable to play for personal reasons.
For most of the game he looked solid but played an unfortunate part in the goal, as he and Smith allowed Knighton to nip in and steal the ball. Even then, Davies should not have felled the Mangotsfield man who was going away from goal and did not have a shooting angle.
Injuries and suspensions forced boss Shaun Cunnington to field a patchwork midfield which included striker Nathan Jackson, in a line-up which featured no fewer than five forwards. But the makeshift formation certainly had the visitors thinking early on as the Yeltz made the stronger start.
Mango hotshot Tom Knighton was alert to clear a Lee Chilton corner from just under the bar. Nathan Jones then fired straight at visiting keeper Chris Astley after a nice run from Chilton.
Jackson was called into his first action of the afternoon when he raced out to beat Knighton to the ball but there was an even better chance at the other end, when only a poor first touch from Jones denied him a one-on-one with Astley, who took the surprising option of challenging for the ball with his feet.
Another nice move from the Yeltz saw Justin Nisbett fire a shot which beat Astley but was hacked away by defender Lee Marshall.
After that, the entertainment rather dropped off as the game became bogged down in midfield. Nisbett shot weakly at Astley when he probably had more time. Meanwhile, Mitchell Page headed wide Mangotsfield’s best chance of the half and Sean Seavill fired over for the visitors as the half petered out.
Mangotsfield were quickest out of the blocks from the restart and Smith did brilliantly to block a Knighton shot after the striker found space in the box, while Seavill sent a free-kick straight at Jackson.
The stand-in stopper had looked solid to that point but was found wanting as the opener arrived. Jackson looked favourite to collect a bouncing ball in the box but confusion between he and Smith allowed Knighton to win the ball before being bundled over by clumsy Davies. Arndale made not mistake with the penalty, firing into the bottom corner.
To their credit, the Yeltz fought back strongly and should have levelled when Kelly somehow missed from a yard out after getting on the end of McGrath’s free-kick.
Only brilliant defending denied Arshad as he looked to head home an inviting Jones centre, before Chilton came even closer, firing in a dipping shot from 20 yards out which cannoned off the post with Astley a spectator.
At the other end Jackson redeemed himself with a brilliant reaction stop to deny Joe McClellan at close range. Mitchell Page should then really have sealed it for the hosts when he shot wide after a dreadful Kelly free-kick had set up a quick counter.
Substitute Jason Wood drove just wide from distance before high drama inn stoppage time.
Marshall was booked for pulling down Nisbett 25 yards from goal. McGrath’s free-kick beat Astley but hit the inside of post and ran across the face of goal to Wood, whose rebound attempt was nodded off the line by Gary Colborne. The ball was eventually hacked clear for a corner, from which Gavin Saunders’ volley was nodded off the line by Tom Parinello at the far post.
YELTZ: Jackson S, Davies (Loney 65), Caines, Kelly (c), Smith, Mcgrath, Nisbett, Jackson N (Saunders 80), Jones, Arshad (Wood 80), Chilton subs not used: Gueyes, Flower.
MANGOTSFIELD: Astley, Arndale, Parrinello, Purnell, Colborne, Marshall, McCLennan, Bater, Page, Seavill, Knighton Subs not used: O’Connor, Hoyle, Rendall, Slocombe.
Goal: Arndale 57 pen.