Halesowen 0, Mickleover Sports 0

HALESOWEN battled to a point against Mickleover Sports despite finishing the game with nine men.

The goalless Boxing Day stalemate at the Grove saw the Yeltz share the spoils after having Brad Lewis and Ivor Lawton sent off in the second half.

An even start to the clash eventually saw the visitors work the first chance on 14 minutes.

Andy Dales beat Enock Ekongo down the left flank before crossing low for Evan Garnett. His flick was easily gathered at the near post by the well-placed Dan Platt in the Yeltz goal.

Hales had their own moments with a flurry of early corners but couldn't threaten keeper Lewis King.

Mickleover began to enjoy more of the ball approaching the half hour mark without troubling the home rearguard.

Striker Matthew Barnes-Homer worked King from range after McAtee had broke down the right moments later as both sides continued to scrap for superiority.

The best chance of the half fell to Andy Dales after the Sports attacker got in behind on 31 minutes. Platt rushed out and spread himself well to save.

Garnett then fired over and Brad Grayson drilled wide as Mickleover failed to break the deadlock before the break.

Halesowen worked a couple of efforts of their own before half time as McAtee, who carried his side's main threat, shot straight at King from a free-kick just outside the area and Brad Lewis dragged an effort wide from distance.

The second half continued as an even and scrappy affair.

Again it was Mickleover that forced the first save when Platt was called into action to palm away a powerful effort from Garnett.

The Yeltz stopper then pushed away John McGrath's drilled shot just before the hour mark as the visitors began to get on top.

They nearly had the lead when Pablo Mills was twice denied when up from the back for a 63 minute corner.

First Ekongo's goalline header kept him out before Platt saved an almost identical opportunity from the resulting corner.

In contrast, the hosts struggled to trouble King in the opposite goal.

The afternoon got tougher for the Yeltz when Lewis saw red when picking up his second booking with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Mickleover continued to push but Garnett missed another clear opening on 80 minutes when blazing over following a neat one-two with former Blues forward Clinton Morrison.

The visitors continued to be frustrated when having a penalty shout turned down soon after.

The Yeltz had to face the final ten minutes with nine men when skipper Lawton was given a straight red for a late lunge in midfield as he looked to halt a swift Sports counter-attack. Despite the cynical nature of the challenge, a straight red looked harsh.

However, despite their two-man advantage, Mickleover couldn't find a way through and John Hill's secured what could prove an important point.

The Yeltz will now quickly turn their attention to Saturday's home game with Buxton and the vital clash at fellow strugglers Sutton Coldfield on New Year's Day.

Halesowen: Platt, Ekongo, Morrison, McAtee, Geohaghan, Charlton (Poscha 85), Lawton (c), Lewis, Barnes-Homer (Goddard 65), Jones (Agbor 60), Kelly.

Unused subs: Steele, Parsons.

Mickleover: King, Grocott, Turner, McGrath, Mills, Morris (Robinson 89), Dales, Morrison, Grayson (Phillips 68), Garnett, Scott (c).

Unused subs: Horne, Palmer, Timms.

Att: 402