Halesowen 1, Marine 1

IVOR Lawton's late header rescued a point for Halesowen against fellow struggles Marine at the Grove.

Former Coventry youngster Lawton, making his first start for the club, flicked in a near post header in the 84th minute to cancel out a neat finish from Marine's James Murray.

The Yeltz had to battle back in the close encounter between two sides fighting for form at the bottom end of the Northern Premier League.

After an even start to the contest, the Yeltz had their first sight of goal in the 10th minute when Dan Bragoli could only guide a header wide after Jordan Goddard's ball in from the right.

Dan Udoh then had a low shot blocked by Pete Wylie after getting in behind the Marine backline four minutes later.

Both sides continued to battle for possession in midfield but it was the Yeltz that looked more dangerous in the final third, particularly through the neat link-up play between Udoh and fellow loaner John McAtee.

However, the lively duo often found themselves too isolated with one of Town's midfield three unable to support.

Marine's main threat was carried by forward and skipper Dan Mitchley.

He first fired over from distance on 20 minutes before forcing Dan Platt to save well at his near post six minutes later and again on 35 minutes when the Yeltz keeper got out quickly to smother another low effort.

Halesowen continued to carry their own threat heading towards the break but saw their best opening squandered when Udoh could only fire at Martine stopper Martin Fearon after McAtee's initial effort fell to him just outside the six yard box.

It was Marine that were quicker out the blocks for the second half as Forian DaSilva's left-footed drive had Platt as full stretch to keep it out on 49 minutes.

That proved a rare effort for either side as the contest soon became a scrappy and disjointed affair approaching the hour mark.

It was Marine that settled the better though as Mitchley shot over and Murray again called Platt into action.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 69 minutes when Murray collected the ball on the right, drove at the back-tracking Yeltz defenders and lifted a delicate chip over Platt from the edge of the area.

Brad Lewis had a header blocked and McAtee fired straight at the wall from a central free kick as Hales tried to find a way back approaching the final 10 minutes.

They did find a leveller when Lawton met a near post corner to head beyond Fearon in the 84th minute.

The set-piece came about after Udoh's neat footwork inside the box gave him space to fire off a low effort that was deflected just past the post.

Lawton's header made for a frantic final few minutes but neither side could find a winner as the spoils were shared.

Halesowen: Platt, Ekongo, Morrison, Goddard (Jones 68), Poscha, Charlton, Lawton, Bragoli (c), Udoh, McAtee, Lewis (Blakemore 80).

Unused subs: Woodhouse, Steele, Agbor.

Marine: Fearon, Wylie, Short, Strickland, Hughes, Smart, Murray, Brewster, Mitchley (c), Bailey, DaSilva.

Unused subs: Edgar, Tongue, Lomax, Hassall, Baker.

Att: 276