06 Oct 2019 by Alex Elliott

Peers pounces to keep Alty Cup run going

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*Cheers, Peers .. Tom Peers takes the acclaim of Alty fans behind the goal after putting his side 1-0 up. Picture by Michael Ripley.

Alty’s trip down to the Black Country on Saturday morning for the third qualifying round of the FA Cup proved triumphant as two goals late in the second half by Tom Peers and John Johnston saw the Robins progress to the fourth qualifying round.

The game started fairly slowly, with both sides seemingly feeling each other out, apart from a couple of Halesowen through balls to their attackers that were easily intercepted by Alty’s defence. 

Around halfway through the first half, Alty started to create a few openings, breaking down the left wing, with John Johnston constantly involved. However, Alty’s best chance resulted from Halesowen Town captain Paul McCone bringing down Shaun Densmore just outside the right-hand corner of the box, although Ashley Hemmings' free-kick drifted harmlessly over the bar.

The home side came close with their first significant effort around the 20-minute mark, as striker Reece Hewitt burst through the Alty defence and struck the post from just outside the box, with the follow-up smashed into the side netting by Andrew Parsons.

For the rest of the half, Alty dominated possession without creating any real chances, yet it was Halesowen who almost went ahead on the stroke of half-time, Montel Gibson unleashing a shot from around 25 yards that forced Robins keeper Tony Thompson to make a terrific save. 

Alty started the second half on the front foot, as Hemmings whipped the ball from the left wing into the path of Simon Richman, whose effort was saved from close range by Bradley Catlow.

After 55 minutes, manager Phil Parkinson made his first substitution, with Tom Peers replacing a hobbling Jordan Hulme. Ten minutes later, after a brief spell of possession for Halesowen, Parkinson made his second substitution, with Sean Williams replacing Richman.

Peers' introduction proved a turning point for Alty, as he found himself in successive positions of danger in the home side's box, forcing Catlow to make a number of saves from close range.

In the 72nd minute, Alty finally broke the deadlock. From Hemmings' low driven cross, Peers had an initial point-blank effort blocked by Catlow but was alert enough to pounce on the rebound and hook it into the net. 

After taking the lead, Alty were almost caught napping, as a deep Halesowen free-kick into the box was met by a glancing header from Joshua Hancock that hit the post.

Five minutes later, Alty put the tie to bed as Halesowen keeper Catlow punched Hemmings' corner into the path of Johnston, who drilled a first-time shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

For the remainder of the match, Halesowen piled on the pressure, pushing to get one back, but Alty’s defence held firm to earn a clean sheet and a place in the fourth qualifying round, due to be drawn on Monday afternoon. 

Attendance - 1,245. 

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