Halesowen deserve FA Trophy replay with last minute equaliser against Spartans

Luke Haseley’s 100th goal for Halesowen Town ensured that his side secured a last minute equaliser in the FA Trophy and frustrate Blyth Spartans.

In truth, the replay was the least that the visitors deserved as they put Robbie Dale’s opener behind them and found their way back into the tie.

And their persistence finally paid off with the game heading into injury time as the pressure resulted in Haseley’s equaliser.

Spartans were looking to build on the momentum gained from the previous Sunday’s FA Cup first round win over Altrincham.

Joel Dixon started at right back in place of the injured Alex Nicholson and Arran Wearmouth took his place on the right wing in place of Jarrett Rivers who was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

A fairly listless first half from both sides saw the Yeltz come closest to breaking the deadlock.

Four minutes before the interval the in-form Iyseden Christie danced past Spartans defender Nathan Buddle but dragged a left foot shot against the far post.

The former Coventry City trainee was a constant menace in the visitors forward line, using all of his experience to give Buddle and his centre back partner Ryan Hutchinson a busy afternoon, although the latter put in a fantastic display.

The home side had little to cheer in the first half, although they were left to rue the decisiveness of Yeltz keeper Matthew Sargaent after he raced off his line to block Daniel Maguire’s low shot from ten yards.

Spartans had slightly the better of the half although a number of poor decisions led to them heading down blind alleys rather than creating chances that they possession warranted.

Within ten minutes of the second half Spartans were ahead.

A free kick into the Yeltz area was headed across goal by Buddle and that fell to the unmarked Dale who rolled home from eight yards.

That goal moved Dale into joint third in the club’s all-time scoring charts with 135, meaning he is now level with George Pyke.

However, Dale has some way to go to catch second placed Steve Pyle on 197, and even further to catch all-time leading scorer Brian Slane who is on 242.

Halesowen took advantage of the fact that Spartans could not build on their lead and nerves began to creep in around Croft Park.

With an increasingly cut up pitch frustrating Spartans and a failure to clear their lines when under pressure, an equaliser felt inevitable

To their credit Halesowen kept going and got their just rewards and a replay as a ball over the top saw Haseley chip Spartans keeper Peter Jeffries and ensure the two sides meet again on Tuesday evening.

Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Dixon, Watson, Buddle, Hutchinson, Wearmouth, Mullen, Turnbull (Hooks 70), Maguire, Wade (Bell 78), Dale. Subs not used: Cummings, Rivers, Parker.

Attendance: 489.