12:59pm Thursday 6th March 2014
HALESOWEN Town manager John Hill has praised his team’s fighting spirit after they beat title rivals Coalville to go top of the table.
They replaced Coalville at the head of Northern Premier League Division One South thanks to a Iyseden Christie header and some stout defending on Tuesday night.
The victory followed a 1-0 win at The Grove last Saturday against fellow promotion chasers Leek.
It means The Yeltz have now gone five games without conceding a goal in what could prove to be a crucial period of the season.
Hill said: “We were under a lot of pressure for long periods against Coalville but defended very well. That has been a big strength of ours.
“We are where we are because the players have a great attitude and a will to stick together and work hard for each other.”
Against Coalville, it was Christie’s header that proved the difference. He met a Tom Tonks long throw to guide the ball into the bottom corner after 20 minutes.
Coalville suddenly sparked into life after 35 minutes when Anthony Carney put a chance wide from 15 yards out after losing his marker.
Ben Saunders nearly grabbed a goal for the home side in the closing stages of the first half, but his goal-bound effort was parried away by Yeltz keeper Matt Sargeant.
Coalville were more threatening in the second half and their search for the equaliser started with Jordan Hempenstall gathering the ball inside the penalty area and hitting a shot that flew just over the bar.
Coalville had one last chance in the dying moments of the game, as Cam Stewart’s free kick rebounded off the bar and out of play.
Halesowen defended well and held on for a vital victory.
The Yeltz now lie three points ahead of second-placed Coalville but have played one game more and have an inferior goal difference. Because of this, Hill said his side will not be getting carried away.
“I am still looking at the play-offs at the moment. Anything above that is a bonus,” he said. Halesowen now face another tough contest when they host fourth placed Belper Town at The Grove this Saturday. Hill added: “We have now just got to keep going.”
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