A resurgent City were looking to build upon a healthy recent run of results at high-flying Halesowen on a chilly afternoon in the West Midlands.
Robbie was forced to shuffle the pack once more as Tommy Rigby suffered an unfortunate knock on the eve of the match and Simon Swinton took his place in the midfield.
With Matty Miles unavailable for this match, new loanee Luca Doorbar-Baptist took his place at right back with Daniel Akubuine moving across to partner Yaw Ofusu in the centre of defence.
Brad Gothard was drafted into the side at left back. Taylor Parr and Scott Bridges, both not yet fully fit, made the bench, however Ben Nolan and Mikey Davies were still unavailable through injury. Any thoughts that the early kick off time might make for a more subdued affair were quickly dispelled as the game began at a high tempo with plenty of full bloodied challenges.
City’s first sight of goal came in the 15th minute when Jarid Robson struck a fierce shot that home keeper Dan Platt did well to get his fingers to and parry it wide. In the 19th minute City did open the scoring, a corner taken by Dan Cotton found an unmarked Bradley Gothard who had the simple task of heading home to stun the majority of the 766 in attendance.
The home team equalised on the half hour mark. Josh Quayner’s corner flew past the crowd of players jostling in the box and found Bradley Birch who took one touch and lashed the ball home. Joe Welch had to be at his very best to deny Halesowen on a couple of occasions before a rash challenge from Dan Cotton just inside the City area gave Richard Gregory the opportunity to give Halesowen the lead from the spot on the stroke of half time. Joe dived the right way but Gregory’s effort got through beneath him and City were behind 2-1 at the break. Into the second half and City began brightly but play was then halted for a few minutes when Doorbar-Baptist got caught in the head with high boot.
Neither team managed to wrestle the upper hand but Halesowen were unlucky not to extend their advantage with two great shots from range, the second hitting the top of the bar. City battled gamely and introduced Ryan Ingrey and Nathan Olukanmi in the latter stages and both made an impact, however despite a nervy last few minutes for the home side, City could not create that one big chance that might have earned them a share of the spoils. So no points to show from a difficult test but again City will be heartened by showing they can compete with the best the league has to offer.