Five-star Halesowen maintained their excellent form with a sixth straight win just one week ahead of their vital top-of-the-table clash at Ilkeston, writes David Johnson.

Yeltz manager Paul Smith was pleased with the victory. “It’s a results business for us now and this was a comfortable win with a good clean sheet. We really got going in the second half and it ended up as a convincing performance.”

Halesowen started brightly with Kyle Finn going close from a 2nd minute corner. But the Yeltz soon took the lead when Yaxley failed to defend an 8th minute long throw-in and the ball fell for Richard GREGORY to smack home from close range.

With the hosts well on top, Simeon Cobourne hit across goal after 19 minutes and McKauley Manning saw his 20-yard shot tipped around the post by goalkeeper Will Larkin. Jack Holmes was just off target after 24 minutes and Holmes then split the Yaxley defence a minute later, but Cobourne blasted the chance over the bar.

Yaxley rallied mid-way through the first-half with Tom Smith’s long range shot saved low down by Dan Platt before the Cuckoos forced two corners in the 34th minute. Matthew Sparrow was then ruled offside as he curled a 40th minute effort from the left against Platt’s post.

In further home pressure towards the interval, Larkin held onto a long-range 41st minute shot from Manning. GREGORY then doubled Halesowen’s lead in superb style when he smashed a 43rd minute direct 20 yard free-kick brilliantly into the top corner to register his second goal of the game. Gregory tried to repeat the trick in the final minute of the first period with a 35-yard free-kick, but this time Larkin held on. Just two minutes into the second period Gregory struck yet another similar 20-yard free-kick towards the top corner, only for Larkin to make a splendid flying save. With the Yeltz in complete control, Holmes blasted high after deceiving the Yaxley defence with a clever turn at the end of a fine 49th minute move.

Halesowen deservedly made it 3-0 in the 51st minute when Holmes dissected the visiting defence superbly to set up full-back Rob EVANS to finish well on the overlap down the right. Two minutes later COBOURNE increased the lead further still with yet more clinical finishing into the bottom corner from the right.

The Cuckoos almost found a consolation goal when Kyle Nolan was left unmarked from a 64th minute corner but home goalkeeper Platt somehow clawed the ball off the goal-line.

Late on, Halesowen substitute Chris Lait nodded wide from a 77th minute cross from Evans and Lait fired another opportunity over the bar three minutes later. But MANNING still had time to make it an emphatic 5-0 in injury time when he headed home Lait’s left-wing corner at the near post to repeat the five goals Halesowen scored at Yaxley earlier in the season.

Final score: Halesowen Town 5-0 Yaxley 

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Rob Evans, Lewis Wright, Josh Hawker (Toby Scott 67), Paul McCone (c), Nat Kelly, Jack Holmes, McKauley Manning, Simeon Cobourne (Chris Lait 75), Richard Gregory (Richard Smith 67), Kyle Finn. Subs Not Used: Ahmed Ali, Joe Palmer.

Yaxley: Will Larkin; Dan Bucciero, Tom Smith, Toby Salmon (John-Paul Duncliff 58), Bradley Gothard, Connor Peters, Matthew Sparrow (Floran Tsaguim 74), Liam Hook (c), Harmeed Ishola, Kyle Nolan, Spencer Tinkler. Subs Not Used: Thomas Waumsley, Jack Withers, Ross Watson.

Referee: Joshua Hackett          Attendance: 926

Booked: Nolan (22), Hawker (34), Peters (53), McCone (63), Bucciero (64), Sparrow (70)

‘Tulleys Print’ HTFC Man of the Match selected by Daphne & Olivia Hipkiss: Richard Gregory

Report submitted by Halesowen Town