Halesowen Town 0 Welwyn Garden City 2
Frustrated Halesowen suffered their first defeat of the season despite the second-placed visitors ending the game with only nine men.
Halesowen started on the front foot as Jamie Ashmore whipped over a cross from the right for leading goalscorer Jamie Molyneux to head inches wide after just 15 seconds. Visiting goalkeeper Ryan Schmid then dived to save at the feet of Montel Gibson in the fourth minute.
But the Yeltz struggled for cohesion in a disjointed first half performance as the Citizens stunned the hosts to race into a two goal lead. Jesse Walklin played a great cross field ball over the top of the defence to find fullback Jay ROLFE on the right of the penalty area and he beat home goalkeeper Brendon Bunn in the 6th minute. The Citizens carved open the home defence again after 21 minutes but goalkeeper Bunn raced out of his area to win the ball and George Ironton then struck a low free-kick past the post.
IRONTON proved sharper than the home defence when he was first to react and double Welwyn’s lead after 27 minutes by converting a loose ball from a rebound after Jack Bradshaw’s shot was saved by Bunn.
The lack-lustre Yeltz found it difficult to respond although Ashley Sammons saw his 30th minute shot from a free-kick deflected away for a corner and Sammons then fired on top of the net five minutes later. The visitors were reduced to ten men a minute before the interval when goalscorer Rolfe was dismissed for his second yellow card.
Shell-shocked Halesowen found no answers after coming up against robust Welwyn’s wall of defence after the interval. The early part of the second period became a stop-start, ill-tempered affair with few chances as the Citizens picked up three further yellow cards around the hour mark. Sammons continued to create the best home chances and his 67th minute deflected shot looped up onto the crossbar and Sammons also drove wide with time running out for the below-par hosts. Schmid also grabbed the ball on the goal-line after a back header from his own defender Car Mensah.
Welwyn were reduced to just nine men when Mensah received a straight red card for a foul on the edge of the penalty area in the final minute but the well marshalled visitors easily saw out seven minutes of stoppage time to remain unbeaten in the league.
Halesowen Town: Brendon Bunn; Jamie Ashmore, James Bowen (George Forsyth 75), Ashley Sammons, Paul McCone (c), Andrew Parsons, Joshua Hawker (Luke Yates 53), Robbie Bunn, Montel Gibson (Jamie Lucas 53), Reece Hewitt, Jamie Molyneux. Subs Not Used: Robert Evans, Kartel O’Neill-Martin.
Welwyn Garden City: Ryan Schmid; Jay Rolfe, Jonathan Sexton, Jack Bradshaw, William McClelland, Carl Mensah, Lee Close, George Ironton (Dylan Ebengo 90), Toby Cleaver (Eusebio Da Silva 68), David Keenleyside, Jesse Walklin. Subs Not Used: Charlie Jones (GK), Charlie Payne, Gerardo Smaldone.
Referee: Jamie Conde Attendance: 503
Booked: Rolfe (29, 44), Sexton (59), Close (60), Bowen (60), Ironton (62)
Sent Off: Rolfe (44), Mensah (90)
‘Tulleys Print’ HTFC Man of the Match selected by The Eddy Crew: Andy Parsons