Tinnion volley sinks the Yeltz.
A dry bumpy pitch, strong wind, tired limbs and nothing to play for – all the ingredients for drab end of season encounter!
But Reds did have something to play for and they collected another three precious points so, as far as manager David Hewson is concerned, it was job well done.
As a spectacle, the game was one long yawn with Reds doing just enough to win and a makeshift Halesowen team satisfied with the damage limitation exercise. The Yeltz were already assured of Evo-Stik Premier Division status for next season, but whether another trip to Cumbria will be on their fixture list remains to be seen.
That’s up to Reds, of course, and they are within touching distance of the play-offs with just three games left.
With all due respect to Halesowen, Reds were never in danger of losing this one but, after missing penalty number nine of the season, many in the home support were fearing a first goalless draw of the season.
Thankfully, one moment of Conor Tinnion magic ensured three more valuable points were banked and, to still have an interest in the season as we enter the final week, is all we could have asked for.
Tinnion’s fortieth minute winner, his first league goal for two months, was worthy of winning any game and followed a good build-up where Reds kept the ball alive with a series of passes and headers.
The ball fell invitingly to that wand of a left foot and, a split-second later, was in the back of Daniel Platt’s net. To be fair to the ‘keeper, he may have been unsighted as the ball came through a ruck of bodies but, even with a better view, would have struggled to prevent what proved to be the match-winner
Young Platt’s afternoon got off to the best possible start with a third-minute penalty save denying Reds the early goal they sought. Bradley Lewis tripped Tinnion, leaving the referee with no other option than to award Reds their eighteenth penalty of the season.
David Symington resumed spot-kick duties but saw Platt make a decent save, yet another failure from twelve yards!
Undeterred, Reds continued the quest for the opener but Nathan Waterston’s shot on the turn produced another smart save from Platt. Then, following a corner, Josh Calvert deflected the ball onto the crossbar before a defender cleared.
There was a touch of black humour from the terraces mid-way through the first half when Town’s travelling support celebrated a wayward Cameron Steele attempt with the ditty, “we have had a shot”!
They repeated said jingle when Andre Johnson’s effort drifted wide of Aaran Taylor’s goal soon after.
Tinnion’s goal brought the contest back to life after everyone in the crowd had temporarily nodded off.
Symington had been off target with two shots at goal after his penalty miss and then saw a second half effort drift harmlessly wide.
But whenever Tinnion (pictured) got the ball, something was likely to happen. He won a tackle in the right back position, delivered a teasing free-kick which Sam Joel headed goal-wards, only for Platt to acrobatically tip over the bar and was then denied by Platt’s diving save, following another free-kick.
“Credit to the boys for seeing it through and if we stay focused and mentally strong this week, we could be celebrating play-off qualification for a third successive season,” concluded a satisfied joint-manager, Hewson.
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Smith (May, 46), Earl (Wright, 80), Symington, Calvert, Allison, Waterston (Joel, 63), Tinnion. Substitutes – Ryan, Douglas (not used).
Halesowen Town Platt, Steele, Lewis, Denny, Charlton (Stead, 75), Milne, Clarke, Bragoli (Sheldon, 78), Johnson, O’Neill-Martin, Chilton. Substitute – O’Day (not used).
Referee John Mulligan, Carlisle