Halesowen Town and Nantwich Town played out a competitive 1-1 draw at The Grove, a result that ensures their FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round tie will now require a replay on Tuesday evening. Kaiman Anderson gave Halesowen the lead in the 62nd minute with a fine finish, but the hosts were brought back onto level terms via Josh Hancock’s header for the visitors. Hancock deflected a Sam Hall strike from outside the box into the net for the Dabbers with fourteen minutes remaining to send the tie into a reverse fixture.
The first half offered very little in the way of goalmouth action, although it was still a watchable affair. Both sides passed the ball around nicely on a wet surface which was impressive after heavy downpours plagued the Midlands throughout the afternoon. Nantwich controlled possession slightly more, but it was the hosts who offered the best chances of the half. Both opportunities came late on in the period with first half substitute, Ethan Delaney, testing Dave Parton in the Nantwich goal with a fizzing 25 yard effort at his near post. Parton opted to gather at the second attempt after the ball kicked up across the slick surface. Jay Denny then attempted to lob Parton three minutes before the interval, but the keeper safely watched the ball nestle onto the roof of the net. The teams went in 0-0 at half-time with all still to play for.
Halesowen came out the brighter side in the early stages of the second half, and they duly produced the first meaningful chance after the break. Delaney continued his impact off the bench as he sent a shot just wide at the near post, as he connected with a right wing delivery inside the six yard box in the 54th minute. Then eight minutes later, Halesowen’s attacking intentions were rewarded with the game’s opener. Half-time substitute, James Hancocks, won the ball in his own half and his ball down the left channel fed Anderson, who applied a fine finish into the far corner from just inside the area to add an extra bit of spice to the contest going into the final stages.
Nantwich immediately pushed for a leveller after going behind, but had to wait until the 75th minute to test Daniel Platt in the Yeltz goal. Sean Cooke was a lively customer all afternoon, and his free-kick from the edge of the box was superbly tipped over the bar by Platt as the visitors knocked on the door. That was to be the warning sign Halesowen ignored as Nantwich made it 1-1 a minute later. The home side failed to clear their lines to allow Hall to strike from 25 yards out, and his effort deflected past Platt off the head of Nantwich substitute, Hancock.
Both sides huffed and puffed with Nantwich looking the more threatening in the closing stages, but ultimately a draw was a fair scoreline on the day. Now it’s off to Nantwich on Tuesday night to see which side makes it into the 4th Qualifying Round and one step away from the First Round Proper.
Halesowen Town: Platt, Haynes, Griffiths (Hancocks 46), Denny, Morrison, Charlton, Melvin, Anderson, Sho-Silva (Delaney 37), Colley (Cleet 58)
Nantwich Town: Parton, White, Touray, Jones, Harrison, Bell, Stair, Hall, Brooke (Walker 80), Cooke (Abadaki 85), Riley (Hancock 65)