Halesowen Town 0, Leiston 0

HALESOWEN Town slipped further towards the drop after a goalless draw against Leiston.

Should the Yeltz find themselves a league lower next season, it’ll be because their lack of killer instinct prevented them from mounting a serious survival challenge.

Town had netted just five times in last 10 games heading into this one and a goalless draw at the Grove does nothing to help their plight despite a spirited showing.

The Yeltz made three changes from the side that lost at Lowestoft as Asa Charlton, Enock Ekongo and Josh Craddock replaced Andre Wright, Danny Bragoli and Lee Hughes.

Hales were then forced into an early reshuffled after Callam Mendez-Jones pulled up after just five minutes. Aaron Gilpin came on in his places as the hosts soon reverted to a back four.

Town did make a positive start to the clash as they snapped into challenges in midfield and fed Craddock early.

However, neither side worked a chance of note until home keeper Dan Platt gathered Josh Cheetham’s weak effort from range on 11 minutes.

Openings remain few and far between for long spells but it was the visitors that looked more dangerous when they did work the ball into the final third.

It again took Platt to keep the Yeltz on level terms on 35 minutes as he saved with his feet to deny Noel Aitkens after Joe Jefford’s cross from the right.

The home side struggled to work visiting stopper Marcus Garnham as they looked short of ideas in attack during a flat first period.

Aaron Birch fired a free-kick over the bar in added time as the clash remain goalless at the break.

Halesowen again started the half the brighter and were finally able to build some pressure thanks to the direct running down the right flank from Gilpin.

The Yeltz passed up a big opportunity to edge ahead just before the hour mark. First Birch’s effort from six yards was kept out by Garnham before Jack Kelly blazed the follow up well over.

The home side started to get on top heading into the final 20 minutes and should have gone ahead when Craddock headed Birch’s inswinging cross just wide.

Morris’ header from another Birch free-kick was gathered by Garnham on 82 minutes as the home side still couldn’t find a way through.

Gilpin continued to cause problems with the ball at his feet and it was his running that set up Craddock moments later but the forward could only fire into the side netting as time ran out.

A final goalmouth scramble from a Kelly corner saw Halesowen come close to a winner. Instead the Yeltz had to settle for a frustrating stalemate that leaves them deep in the relegation zone.

Halesowen: Platt, Mendez-Jones (Gilpin 5), Griffiths, Lawton, Morris (c), Charlton, Ekongo, Birch (Nabi 90), Craddock, Molyneux (Till 83), Kelly.

Unused subs: Fitzpatrick, Marselia.

Leiston: Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Knights, Jefford, Bullard (c), Rutterford (Eagle 55), Aitkens, Blake (Bloom 71), Docherty, Cheetham (Lawrence 55).

Unused subs: Davies, Kiwomya.

Att: 442.