Five-star Halesowen remain unbeaten after Miracle Okafor and Kieren Donnelly both thumped two goals past basement side Long Eaton in a cracking game, writes David Johnson.

Yeltz Manager Paul Smith explained his thinking for the holiday weekend. “It’s crucial we use the whole squad. We probably haven’t got the points we’ve deserved up to now, but we took our chances today. It’s a good first half of the Bank Holiday weekend as we made six changes from last week and got some minutes into players. We go to Telford on Monday with no fear and if we do perform well, we’re good enough to get something.”

Prior to the kick-off a minute’s applause was observed in remembrance of long-time Yeltz supporter Roy Ditchfield.

The Yeltz grabbed an early goal when a 4th minute free-kick was nodded on by Ryan Wynter for OKAFOR to convert to the right of goalkeeper Ross Durrant with a low shot. Dangerous Okafor then earned the first of three successive Halesowen corners in the 10th minute with Durrant out of his goal.

Long Eaton’s Joseph Nyahwema, signed from the ranks of the Burton Albion academy, broke down the left in the 13th minute but his low cross was cut out by home goalkeeper Dan Platt with Wynter tidying up. Lively Nyahwema burst through again after 15 minutes to curl wide and flashed another shot past the Yeltz post three minutes later.

  Nathan Hayward’s goal-bound shot was turned away for yet another home corner after being set up by Okafor on a good 22nd minute break before OKAFOR made it 2-0 in the 26th minute when he rounded goalkeeper Durrant in a one-on-one and slotted home in a composed finish. Donnelly clipped wide after being set up by Okafor after 27 minutes and the Yeltz then forced their sixth corner after just half an hour.

Long Eaton were unlucky in the 32nd minute of their first ever visit to the Grove with Marley Fearon’s shot tipped over the bar following a good move and from the resulting corner a bullet header from centre-half Riece Bertram rattled the post. The visitors continued to look dangerous going forward and Bertram planted another header just wide from a 36th minute corner.

But Halesowen always looked likely to add further goals as George Cater struck the side-netting in the 37th minute and Jak Hickman crossed along goal a minute later.

Halesowen increased their lead to 3-0 in the 43rd minute when Richard Gregory’s legs were clipped in the penalty area. Gregory stepped up to take the resulting penalty and although his spot-kick was saved to Durrant’s right, the ball fell kindly for DONNELLY to slot home the rebound.

The rampant Yeltz almost added further goals before the interval as Okafor pounced on an error allowing Gregory to square along goal with Todd Parker thwarted and Cater’s effort was then saved after more good work by Okafor.

The goals continued to flow as DONNELLY latched onto a cushioned header and smashed Halesowen’s fourth goal into the corner of the net from 15 yards just two minutes after the interval. In further pressure, Long Eaton’s Bertram made a saving tackle when substitute Jack Holmes burst clear in the 67th minute. Two minutes later Platt kept Halesowen’s clean sheet intact by diving to save at the feet of Zayn Hakeem after the striker was put clean through on goal.

HOLMES wrapped up Halesowen’s fine win with a fifth goal in the 75th minute with a deflected shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area after substitute McKauley Manning’s cross was only partly cleared.

Halesowen Town:  Dan Platt (c); Jak Hickman, Reece Mitchell, Todd Parker (McKauley Manning 51), Ryan Wynter, Luke Redfern, Kieren Donnelly, Nathan Hayward, Miracle Okafor (Jack Holmes 59), Richard Gregory (Ryan Boothe 71), George Cater. Subs Not Used: Kieran Morris, Simeon Cobourne.

Long Eaton United: Ross Durrant (c); Callum Cocks, Lucien Mahovo, Ryley Reynolds, Riece Bertram, Edward Cook, Joseph Nyahwema, Marley Fearon (Adam Clark 62), Zayn Hakeem, Cieron Keane (Alans Voskresenskis 46), Cameron Philip (Micah Jebbison 55). Subs Not Used: Keiran Walker, Nathan Whitefield.

Referee: Daniel Smith               Attendance: 891

Booked: Donnelly (81)

Tulleys Print HTFC Man of the Match selected by Richard Ditchfield & family: Miracle Okafor

Non-League Paper Man of the Match: Miracle Okafor