NEW signing Dan Creaney scored on his debut to fire Stratford Town to a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Halesowen Town.
The Coalville Town loanee opened the scoring in the 18th minute when he was on hand to tap home from close range after latching on to Kynan Isaac’s low cross.
A spirited Halesowen drew level in the 64th minute when Callam Mendez-Jones glanced Jack Kelly’s corner into the far corner after Ross Etheridge was caught in no man’s land.
Town managed to secure the three points with 13 minutes remaining when Chris Cox was on hand to head home Creaney’s cross to give the hosts an immediate return to winning ways in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central.
Thomas Baillie made three changes to the team which lost 2-0 at home to Coalville Town on Tuesday night, with Ross Oulton, Dan Fisher and new striker Creaney drafted into the starting line-up and James Fry, Lewis Wilson and Wilson Carvalho dropping to the bench.
After a fairly even start, Town broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Ross Oulton played in Kynan Isaac down the left-hand side to square it into the box for debutant Creaney to score from about six yards out.
Despite going a goal down, the Black Country visitors still enjoyed plenty of possession and a half-chance to draw on level terms in the 34th minute, but Samuel Griffiths could only head straight at Etheridge at the back post after getting on the end of Joe Fitzpatrick’s deep free-kick.
A fine save from Daniel Platt then denied Isaac from making it 2-0 seven minutes later after a surging run into the box before Creaney came a whisker away from notching his second with the last kick of the half, but he could only volley just wide of the near post after latching on to Cox’s first-time cross from the near side.
Just before the break Town were also forced into a substitution as Kian Williams came on for Cody Fisher who picked up a knock to his ankle after an honest coming together with Jack Till.
After the interval the Yeltz made a double substitution in Callum Coyle and Aaron Gilpin to add more attacking impetus to their line-up.
And in the 50th minute Till had a sight on goal from 20 yards out, but he could only lash over with his left foot.
Immediately up the other end Will Grocott played in Williams, but he could only toe-poke straight at Yeltz keeper Platt after being surrounded by the visiting defence.
Town were then forced into another substitution three minutes later as the injured Oulton was replaced by Muhammed Sebbeh-Njie.
Creaney almost grabbed his and Town’s second just past the hour mark but his stinging shot was parried by Platt.
Two minutes later Halesowen bagged the equaliser when Kelly’s corner was glanced into the far corner by Mendez-Jones after Etheridge was caught in no man’s land.
The visitors almost turned the game on its head in the 67th minute when Coyle broke into the box down the left, but his shot was well saved by the feet of Etheridge at the near post.
Etheridge was called into action six minutes later to save Andre Wright’s header at the back post before Till curled an effort agonisingly wide just a breath later as the visitors continued to push for a second goal.
Despite all their pressure, Halesowen fell behind with 13 minutes to when Cox was on hand to head home at the back post from Creaney’s cross to nose Stratford back in front after a prolonged spell of being on the back foot.
Town nearly made the game safe in the 86th minute, but after Carvalho cut inside the box onto his right foot, the powerful effort was well palmed away by Platt.
TOWN: Ross Etheridge, Chris Cox, Kynan Isaac, Ross Oulton (Sebbeh-Njie 54), Jamie McAteer, Jordan Williams, Dan Creaney, Albi Skendi, Nabil Shariff, Will Grocott (Wilson Carvalho 75), Cody Fisher (Kian Williams 45+2′). Unused Subs: James Fry, Lewis Wilson.
HALESOWEN: Daniel Platt, Mathias Curley (Aaron Gilpin 46), Jack Kelly, Callum Mendez-Jones, Kieran Morris, Samuel Griffiths, Jack Rea (Tyler Weir 59), Joe Fitzpatrick (Callum Coyle 46), Andre Wright, Jack Till, William Murphy. Unused subs: Lee Hughes, Enock Ekongo.