10 February 2020 20:18
GIANT-KILLERS Halesowen Town will travel to National League Barnet in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy after sending shock waves through the world of non-league football by toppling mighty FC Halifax on Saturday. Jamie Molyneux's sensational second half strike stunned Halifax - who sit three divisions above Yeltz near the top of the National League - sending the estimated 500-plus away fans into ecstasy. It means Halesowen - the joint lowest ranked side left in the competition, which is the non-league equivalent of the FA Cup - are now just two rounds away from an appearance at Wembley in the final. It was a superlative performance from Town, and one which left proud manager Paul Smith purring with delight. Smith said: "It was fantastic - no-one gave us a chance going to Halifax - apart from us!
"The lads executed the game plan perfectly - we cut out the balls into their top two, which we knew was how they would play, and they had no plan B. "Everybody was spot-on - it shows how far we have come as a team, they are a really special bunch of lads. It doesn't get any easier now having to go to Barnet - we're certainly doing this the hard way - but with the results we have achieved so far in this competition we ready for it." Smith also praised the Yeltz' travelling fans, adding: "They were absolutely unbelievable - they sang from start to finish and really drove us on. "We have special memories that will last forever as a team from Saturday - and I hope the fans have memories as special as ours. "The main thing now is to focus back on the league, as we have some tough games coming up." Yeltz were due to travel to Daventry in the league on Tuesday night, before entertaining Biggleswade Town this Saturday.
The next step in their fairytale FA Trophy journey comes with the trip to Barnet on Saturday February 29. Three goals in eight second-half minutes saw Barnet move into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy at the expense of National League leaders Barrow. Cheye Alexander, Simeon Akinola and Josh Walker scored in the 61st, 63rd and 69th minutes respectively to secure a comfortable win for the Bees. New signing Xander McBurnie came into the side for the cup-tied Paul McCallum, while there was also a return to the bench for Ricardo Santos. Neither side took a firm grasp of the game in the opening 10 minutes, with the closest effort being McBurnie's effort when he got on the end of a cross from Akinola. Barrow, the current runaway leaders in the National League, began to settle into the game and were only denied the advantage when Scott Loach saved brilliantly from Oliver Dyson. The Bees started quickest in the second half and a defensive error from the visitors almost allowed Akinola in to break the deadlock. Shortly after, though, the game's opening goal did arrive when Alexander found himself high up the pitch, evaded a tackle and then slotted past Luke Simpson. Straight from the kick-off, Barnet regained possession and looked to attack again, and they were rewarded with a second goal as Akinola made space for himself in the box before stabbing home his 16th goal of the season in all competitions. Any chance of a Barrow fightback was completely killed off six minutes later when Walker easily broke into the penalty area and slotted beyond the helpless goalkeeper to but Barnet out of sight. A further positive came for the hosts when Santos made his long-awaited return from injury as a late substitute, and he helped the Bees see out the remaining minutes and secure their place in the quarter-final. Barnet will discover their opponents for the last eight in today's draw at 1pm, while they return to National League duty tomorrow night away at Solihull Moors.