Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round – Saturday, 18th September 2021

Halesowen Town 1 Handsworth FC 3

Previously unbeaten Halesowen suffered a huge FA Cup shock in a 3-1 home defeat to lower level Handsworth FC of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

Halesowen dominated first-half possession but had little end-product on offer. Jack Holmes fired high over the bar after ten minutes before both Kyle Finn and Toby Scott saw shots blocked soon afterwards writes David Johnson.

As the Yeltz continued to struggle to make a breakthrough, McKauley Manning played a 17th minute short free-kick to Rob Evans but his shot was blocked for a corner. Manning then put Jamie Molyneux free in the area but he screwed his 23rd minute shot wide and Finn hit a low shot wide as Halesowen continued to make heavy weather of the contest.

Chances continued to go begging as Evans’ 34th minute cross found Holmes free in front of goal but he could only head weakly at goalkeeper Ben Townsend. Holmes then brought a good low save from Townsend a minute later.

The Ambers took a shock 39th minute lead through poor home defending when captain Paul McCone slipped in the area and Reece KANE was allowed to poke home past static goalkeeper Dan Platt.

Another 41st minute shot from Holmes was parried away by Townsend with Ahmed Ali about to pounce and just before the interval Scott and Manning were also denied.

Halesowen continued to enjoy plenty of possession after the interval, but little changed with Handsworth battling away in defence and the Yeltz lacking a final cutting edge. Manning and Scott had early second half shots and Townsend saved from Molyneux down the left. McCone’s header then struck the Handsworth post from a 54th minute corner whilst James Oliver made a great run forward for the visitors with his shot saved low down by Platt.

The Yeltz missed a host of further opportunities as they lacked composure in front of goal, epitomised when Molyneux cut in from the right and squared for Scott to hit high over the bar with the net beckoning after 58 minutes. Holmes then hit a loose ball wide in another good chance after Manning ran into the area after an hour.

Handsworth doubled their lead after 63 minutes with a superb opportunistic strike when Sam SMITH spotted Platt off his line and he launched an audacious but perfectly weighted 35 yard lob over the stranded goalkeeper.

Halesowen toiled away but still couldn’t find the net as Holmes hit straight at Townsend in the 68th minute and substitute Joe Palmer flicked a 75th minute cross at the grateful goalkeeper. Three more corners in the 77th minute also led to nothing.

The Yeltz finally found the net to reduce the arrears in the 80th minute when substitute Robbie Bunn cut in from the left to fire a 20 yard shot home through a crowded penalty area.

With Halesowen hunting for an unlikely equaliser, Holmes showed great skill down the right touchline but both substitute Josh Mussell and Finn couldn’t convert his cross.

Handsworth wrapped up their fine win with a third goal in the 89th minute when Oliver crossed along goal from the right for SMITH to turn home his second goal from close range against the demoralised and frustrated Yeltz.

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Rob Evans, Brett Lloyd (Josh Mussell 62), Ahmed Ali, Paul McCone (c), Calum Flanagan, Jack Holmes, Toby Scott (Robbie Bunn 62), Jamie Molyneux (Joe Palmer 62), Kyle Finn, McKauley Manning. Subs Not Used: Dan Brookes, Dan Whitehouse.

Handsworth FC: Ben Townsend; Liam Bell, Richard Tootle, Jack Harrison (Ethan Hobson 85), Rikki Paylor (c), Tom Roebuck, Sam Fewkes, Reece Kane (Cecil Nyoni 78), Sam Smith, Mitchell Dunne (Leon Howarth 66), James Oliver. Subs Not Used: Jake Baldwin, Alfie Eagle, Nana Nyarko, Joseph Bacon (GK).

Referee: Mark Pearson             Attendance: 858

Booked: Oliver (32), Evans (90), Nyoni (90)

Report submitted by Haleswen Town