"Bucks face a tricky trip to Halesowen on Boxing Day"
Match Date : December 26th, 2023 3:00 pm
Competition : Southern League Premier Central
Ground : The Grove, Old Hawne Lane, Halesowen, B63 3TB
Kick Off : 15:00
The Bucks will make the short trip to Halesowen on Boxing Day.
The Yeltz won promotion to the league by winning last season’s Northern Premier League Division One Midlands playoffs. And the Yeltz carried that momentum into the current campaign, starting the season by going 11 unbeaten in all competitions.
Three defeats on the bounce at the start of November, though, saw the Yeltz slip into the sizeable playoff-chasing pack, with Paul Smith’s side currently sitting in 9th place – two points behind the Bucks having played two games more.
Boss Smith has overseen a revival in Halesowen’s fortunes after the Yeltz endured a miserable 2018/19 campaign under former Bucks duo Rob Smith and Larry Chambers. Former Redditch boss Smith was tasked with returning Town to step 3 as soon as possible, but two Covid-affected seasons (during which the Yeltz were within striking distance of top spot) slowed down Halesowen’s return. A 3rd-place finish followed in 2021/22 before promotion last season. Smith also oversaw Halesowen’s remarkable run to the FA Trophy semi finals during his first season in charge.
Smith kept much of his promotion-winning squad together, while also making a number of key additions. And it’s one of Smith’s summer signings who has been Halesowen’s stand out performer so far this season. Miracle Okafor arrived at The Grove having bagged 26 league goals for Sporting Khalsa last term, and the dangerous forward has continued his goalscoring exploits this season. Okafor is currently the second-highest scorer in the division with 12 goals to his name.
The Bucks were perhaps fortunate to come away with a point when the two sides played out a goalless draw at the New Bucks Head in August. And Kevin Wilkin’s men will have to be on their mettle if they are to overcome a Yeltz outfit who tend to perform much better at home than on the road. The second-best supported side after the Bucks, Halesowen have picked up 23 of their 34 points at The Grove, which is the sixth-best record in the league.
The Bucks are unbeaten in six away league games and have kept clean sheets in each of the last two outings on the road. Wilkin’s men are of course now 11 without defeat in the league and will be looking for another solid showing on Tuesday, as the Bucks look to cement a place in the top five.
This fixture will be segregated, and tickets can be bought with cash or card on the day of the match. Please refer to our matchday information page for full details.
Ground Address: The Grove, Old Hawne Lane, Halesowen, West Midlands, B63 3TB