10:32am Thursday 13th March 2014
HALESOWEN Town's chairman Colin Brookes has said he would rather have points in the bag instead of games in hand at this stage of the season
The Yeltz moved back to the top of the Northern Premier League Division One South by beating Gresley 2-0 away on Monday night.
They are now three points ahead of promotion rivals Coalville Town but have played two games more.
Halesowen's promotion hopes had hit a slight set-back when they lost 4-3 at The Grove last Saturday to third placed Belper Town.
However, they came storming back with a vengeance by taking three points from a Gresley side that has not lost for 14 home games.
There were two changes to the Yeltz side with Nigel Penney taking the place of the absent Tom Tonks, and Brendan Kelly standing in for Asa Charlton.
Halesowen took the lead early on as Ben Haseley was pushed to the ground in the penalty area by Jamie Barrett. Iyseden Christie was easily able to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Gresley kept fighting though, with Eric Graves bursting into the Yeltz penalty area only to see his on-target shot well saved by Sargeant on the ten minute mark.
But Halesowen were the more dominant side. Ben Haseley got in behind the Gresley defence only to see hit effort the underside of the bar.
It wasn’t long before the Yeltz claimed another goal through Haseley. He gathered the ball from the halfway line, ran into the penalty area and slotted the ball easily under Gresley keeper Mats Morch to double his side's advantage and return them to the top of the table with just eight games to play.
Brookes said: "The Belper game was very good and could have gone either way. They had a big, physical team and played to their strengths.
"The important thing was the way we responded two days later. Gresley have beaten a number of sides around us, so it was important we went there and got a win.
"At this stage of the season it could prove beneficial to have points in the bag."
He added: "We know we have a tough run-in, but we have just taken nine points from four difficult games, so we are more than capable."
Halesowen have this week announced that Mitch Botfield has rejoined club. Botfield scored four goals in twenty-eight games for the Yeltz before leaving in the summer due to travelling reasons through studying. He will help cover the current void the Yeltz midfield have through various injuries.
In another twist to this season's promotion battle, Leek have been deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player against Eastwood Town. It means they have now dropped down to fourth in the table.
The league has also accepted a resignation letter from Eastwood Town which means their record will be expunged. The situation will see Halesowen and their promotion rivals all being deducted three points after beating them earlier in the season.
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