Valentine’s late goal breaks Town’s hearts

Nathan Valentine scored Frickley's winner in stoppage time.
Nathan Valentine scored Frickley's winner in stoppage time.

Nathan Valentine hit a a stunning winner in stoppage time as Frickley Athletic climbed out of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division relegation zone with Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Halesowen Town.

When Halesowen lost possession in the third minute of injury time, Valentine snatched three precious points for the Blues by punting the ball like an arrow into the roof of the net from 25 yards out.

Athletic deservedly came out on top after looking the better team for long periods.

They started excellently, with Kuda Muskwe almost stealing in behind a hesitant Halesowen defence after just 40 seconds before the same player then volleyed inches wide in the fourth minute.

Muskwe flashed two more shots just wide as Frickley’s domination continued. They grabbed the lead in the final minute of the first half when Noel Burdett poked the ball home after capitalising on indecision between a Halesowen defender and their goalkeeper.

Haleseowen came more into the game in the second-half.

A curling shot was tipped over the bar by Blues goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski, with the resulting corner hacked off the line by Macaulay Parkinson.

Kaiman Anderson equalised for the home side in the 52nd minute by stooping to head Danny Bragoli’s cross into the roof of the net.

Halesowen failed to build on their momentum and it was Frickley who finished the game more strongly.

Burdett broke through the home defence in the 78th minute but his cross to Muskwe was cleared.

Parkinson’s 85th minute free-kick then went wide and Gary Stohrer cut in from the right to blast over the crossbar in the final minute of normal time before Valentine’s last gasp strike broke Halesowen’s hearts.

Frickley have signed former Worksop Town centre-half Julian Lawrence.

He was in the squad for Tuesday evening’s game at Skelmersdale United which was postponed because of a frozen pitch.

Athletic will look to climb further away from relegation trouble by picking up points from two successive home matches. They host seventh-placed Warrington Town this Saturday (3pm) and fellow strugglers Ilkeston the following weekend.

The Blues have been drawn away at Frecheville CA in the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA Senior Challenge Cup quarterfinals on a date to be arranged.