Match Report: Halesowen Town 0-0 Nantwich Town

Nantwich Town confirmed their return to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division Play Offs after a 0-0 draw away at Halesowen Town confirmed their place in the top 5. That ended an 8 year absence for the club, who will now compete to win promotion to the Conference North next week.

The Dabbers travelled to the Yeltz looking to bounce back from Monday’s defeat to Workington and they knew they needed a point to confirm their place in the play offs after Spennymoor Town, Stourbridge and Workington had secured their places earlier in the week.

The Dabbers dominated the game from start to finish and but for some last ditch Yeltz defending and some miraculous keeping from home stopper Daniel Platt, they would have won their 13th away league game of the season.

In a scrappy first half, the Dabbers dominated the ball and created some good opportunities. Curtis Jones had a close range shot saved by Platt and then saw a header from a corner saved. In the 2nd half, the chances continued to come, with Joel Stair, Steve Jones, Josh Hancock, Tom Peers and Andy White all having openings which could have easily resulted in the opening goal.

Despite some frantic late pressure, the Dabbers were not able to grab the winner their play richly deserved and were forced to settle for a draw. Nevertheless, it was enough to confirm their play off place. They now go into their final game of the season on Saturday away at Stourbridge playing for their final position in the top 5, which will determine who they play next week.

Phil Parkinson sought to rotate his front line for the game, as he looked to keep legs fresh amongst a heavy schedule. Ryan Brooke, Osebi Abadaki and Steve Jones all returned, replacing Tom Peers, Joe Mwasile and Wayne Riley. Joel Stair replaced Ben Harrison at the back after he came off on Monday with an ankle injury. The big defender was thankfully fit enough to take a place on the bench. Dan Gyollai was left out after only returning from international duty the morning of the game. Krystian Burzynski made his 3rd start of the season in goal.

Nantwich started the brighter of the 2 teams as they looked to adapt to a bobbly undulating pitch which made passing football difficult. Abadaki had the first sighter 2 minutes in when he won the ball in the Yeltz half, but could only drag a shot wide from distance. The next chance didn’t come for another 10 minutes, as Hancock was the next to try his luck from range. Platt watched it bounce wide.

Burzynski, despite being a spectator for the opening exchanges, was alert to tip over a looping free kick on 13 minutes. The resulting corner went straight through the box and out for a goal kick. Sam Hall and Abadaki both had further long range efforts which both went over the bar without troubling Platt.

Cameron Milne had the home side’s first sight of goal. He picked up a loose ball and fired a weak shot which was comfortable for Burzynski. Hancock again fired wide from outside the box as the Dabbers worked hard to create clear cut chances.

Their best effort of the first half came when a free kick into the box found Curtis Jones at the back post. From a tight angle, he wasn’t able to force the ball home, with Platt blocking it for a corner. From another Dabbers corner, Jones rose above his man and headed straight at Platt. The Dabbers were looking ever more likely to score, with them dominating possession and territory.

The final noteworthy action of the first half came when yet another corner into the Yeltz box caused a mad scramble which was almost turned in, but the home defence just about cleared the ball away.

The Dabbers didn’t let up in the 2nd half as they searched for the opener. Andy White curled over the bar a few minutes after the restart and Steve Jones beat his man on the right. His cross found Brooke, who’s close range effort was blocked and eventually cleared.

The Yeltz did manage occasional attacks, with a cross from the right eluding target man Mo Diop in the box. At the other end, Touray whipped a free kick just over the bar. Rob Taylor then went into the book for the hosts for blocking the run of Brooke down the right. From the resulting free kick, Stair headed back across goal and his header bounced just wide of the far post with Brooke lunging to try and turn it in. Abadaki was fouled by Cam Steele a few minutes later and the Yeltz man went into the book.

Parky made 2 subs, with Vinny Mukendi and Joe Mwasile coming on for Ryan Brooke and Osebi Abadaki. Mukendi’s first involvement was to get dragged back by Yeltz captain Jay Denny. The Halesowen defender became the 3 Halesowen player in quick succession to be shown the yellow card.

The pressure was relentless on the Yeltz goal as the half progressed. Steve Jones forced a smart save from Platt after getting some space in the box. Mwasile then got down the left and pulled the ball back for Hancock, who couldn’t quite bundle in, with Halesowen once again desperately scrambling the ball to safety.

With time winding down, Parky made his final sub, with Tom Peers coming on for Steve Jones. As the game ticked into stoppage time, the best chances of the game arrived. First White showed great footwork to create some space on the right of the box. His cross into the 6 yard box was somehow cleared off the line and the rebound fell to Tom Peers, who fired a shot off the ground and over.

Hancock then cut inside after good skill and shot straight at Platt. The final chance came when White again came close. He picked up the ball and looked to have won the game, but Platt tipped the ball over the bar. Time ran out for the Dabbers, who somehow were unable to win the contest despite monopolising the possession and chances.


Halesowen Town: Dan Platt, Brad Lewis, Rob Taylor, Jay Denny(c), Asa Charlton, Cameron Steele, Ben Clarke, Daniel Bragoli, Mo Diop, Andre Johnson(Adam Skelton, 69), Cameron Milne(Yasin Al-Massry, 76)

Unused subs: Jay Stead, Jack O’Day

Bookings: Taylor, Milne, Denny

Nantwich Town: Krystian Burzynski, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Joel Stair, Sam Hall(c), Steve Jones(Tom Peers, 84), Matt Bell, Ryan Brooke(Vinny Mukendi, 64), Josh Hancock, Osebi Abadaki(Joe Mwasile, 67)

Unused subs: Wayne Riley, Ben Harrison

Attendance: 365

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