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Gresley 0, Halesowen Town 2: Match report

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 11, 2014

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GRESLEY suffered their first home defeat in 17 games at the hands of new Evo-Stik NPL Division One South leaders Halesowen Town last night.

Not since October 1 have the Moatmen been beaten at the Moat Ground, and not since early September - more than six months ago - have they lost there in the league.

But this was always expected to be a tough encounter after the visitors' home defeat to Belper on Saturday, with the title hopefuls be looking to bounce back.

Gresley got off to a poor start, giving away an early penalty, converted by former Football League journeyman Iyseden Christie, and then allowing the impressive Ben Haseley to race forward and score in the first half.

They did improve in the second half but the damage had been done.

Manager Martin Rowe made changes to his starting line-up with John Guy coming into midfield for Mickey Lyons, who was late arriving to the ground.

Straight from the kick-off, Halesowen's tactics became apparent as every time they got the ball they launched it skyward for their forwards to latch onto.

Unfortunately, Gresley began to mirror the tactic, but the results were nowhere near as effective.

The home side were hoping for a good start but it was not to be as Jamie Barrett brought down Haseley in the are,a giving the visitors an early advantage as Christie converted the spot kick.

Gresley went agonisingly close to equalising just two minutes later but Mitch Hanson's header from Lucas Harrison's free-kick flew the wrong side of the far post.

Eric Graves also went close to levelling but his goal-bound volley was well saved by Halesowen keeper Matthew Sargeant.

Town were denied a second goal by the woodwork as Haseley beat the Gresley backline but his shot clattered the underneath of the bar and bounced out, and his follow up was hit well wide.

The visitors did not have long to wait for a second goal, as another long up and under clearance bounced nicely for prolific striker Haseley, who he raced forward to slot the ball past a helpless Mats Morch.

Rowe made changes at the break, with Zibusiso Nyatitio (pictured) replacing Harrison, and Gresley settled more into the second half.

Haseley went close again early on but was denied by a splendid save from Morch, pushing the header away at the far post.

Morch was having a great game and on several occasions his quick thinking and reactions coming off the line to dive at the feet of the opposition's strikers ensured the score stayed as it was.

Just before the hour mark, Gresley went close to getting on the scoresheet when a mix-up between Sargeant and his defender allowed Graves to bravely try for the ball, and the ricochet seemed to be heading goalwards but was cleared before it could cross the line.

Nyatitio also had a half-chance late on when he met Rob Spencer's cross from the right but his header went straight at Sargeant.

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