Midland Youth League Premier Division South
Stratford Town Youth 6-1 Halesowen Town
Report by Bryan Hale
TOMMY Harrington’s hat-trick in the opening 35 minutes sent Town Youth on their way to a crushing win over a spirited Halesowen Town side at the Arden Garages Stadium on Thursday evening as they emphasised their MFYL Premier Division South title credentials.
Yet they had to come from behind to do so as the Yeltz grabbed a shock lead in only the sixth minute.
Town were caught on the break as James Griffiths chased after a long pass down the left and when keeper Ryan Woodward came out of his area to intercept, his attempted clearance rebounded off the Halesowen striker, who then had the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
But within five minutes Town had levelled it all up when Bradley West’s right wing corner caused mayhem in the Halesowen six-yard box and Harrington pounced to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net.
And on the quarter-hour mark Town were ahead when Michael O’Regan’s shot was pushed out by Yeltz keeper Harry Sulley and again Harrington was the quickest to react to fire home.
Soon after Harry Hartin was tantalisingly close to extending the lead when his dipping left-footer from the edge of the penalty area clipped the top of the bar followed by Sulley doing well to get down low to his right to hold another crisp effort from O’Regan.
Town were well on top and on 35 minutes Harrington made it 3-1 when he cut in from the left to brush past a couple of defenders and complete his hat-trick as he neatly steered the ball past the advancing Sulley.
Tyricke Richards-Burke came on in place of Harrington for the second half and immediately caused the Yeltz backline plenty of problems with his electric pace down the right, but Halesowen kept going without ever really looking as if they would get back into the game.
And Town went on to confirm their superiority with three more goals in the last 15 minutes beginning with a slick finish from West after Hartin had set up the opening.
Josh Aspinall-Smyth made it 5-1 on 82 minutes with a sublime free-kick from 25 yards out which left Sulley helpless as it curled beyond him into the top corner, and it was another Aspinall-Smyth free kick which led to Town’s sixth three minutes later.
This time it was parried by Sulley but as he tried to grab the ball as it rebounded away he brought down West to concede a penalty.
Aspinall-Smyth smashed the spot-kick against the bar but a Halesowen defender had encroached into the area and the referee immediately ordered that the kick should be re-taken.
Aspinall-Smyth made no mistake second time round as he drilled it into the bottom corner to complete a thoroughly satisfying evening for Darren Timms’ side who move into second spot in the table only three points behind leaders Worcester City but with four games in hand.