Saturday, 13 February 2010

FC Halifax Town 3 – 0 Harrogate Railway Athletic; 13th February 2010.


To hell with the missus, spend a Saturday afternoon freezing to death at the Shay with 1200 or so other enlightened characters and watch tearfully one-sided football until the final, shrill whistle. And if you find that a little too much, take her with you. Just remember to go to the toilet beforehand, because there isn't any soap in the grounds' bogs and apparently merely wetting your hands only feeds germs.

Tonight's a night of celebration, for this is the first match report I've done for Town which doesn't involve them drawing! It isn't a curse! But against a team who have failed to win away in the league this season, it shouldn't be such a surprise. Despite that, Harrogate RA are a team that play more football than average, and a unit I hope we didn't humiliate too much.

The match heralded possibly a first at the Shay, as I took along a friend who is possibly the first Chinese woman ever to pass through the turnstiles. And . . . *drum roll* . . . we've just made another Shay(wo)man! Town put their all into today's game and she wasn't disappointed at all, despite being new to the game to my knowledge. It's also good to finally have a case of Halifax stealing fans from Huddersfield for once, rather than the other way round.

Kicking off, as always it was pretty even for the first five minutes. We warmed up and started spending most of the time in their half again.

Now, one of the cardinal sins of a striker or anyone getting forward to the box is allowing the ball to fly across the box and for none of them to receive it as it does. Dead balls going from post-to-post in line with the net is desperately sad. If an opponent grabs it there, then tough titty. Otherwise, it's an open goal opportunity. Anyway, it happens, and opportunities like that saw the Shaymen getting closer and closer to the net. For the rotund goalkeeper's waddling and lack of dedication however, he pulled off decent saves throughout the game and eventually Marshall had a gloved header trickle in as the goalkeeper scuffled it. Goalazzio!

More putting-in-placeness came approaching half time, as corners didn't quite find clinical headers, and throughout the game two or three goals were disallowed, though with fair sense. Commotion was raised as Scooby (I think) fell in the box, but by half time it was 1–0, a satisfactory, but not quite comfortable.

Harrogate didn't really threaten in their few attacks, but of them there were two goalmouth scrambles where Hedge eventually gathered the ball. He had a fantastic match to man up to some of the balls which got so near to the net (even though the venom in Harrogate's attack was about as poisonous as a nice hot bubble bath), and the first clean sheet in a few games.

The second half saw an even better display of football. The only performance I can truly criticise was the meekness of Winter's efforts, and Nicky Gray, though his confidence increased as the game went on. The second goal seemed without question as Gray broke through and with a clear-cut effort, slotted it past the keeper who, due to his mass, was unable to get to the ground in time.

Play petered out a little again as it did after the first goal, and Peers came on. Within a few minutes, he fired a low shot at the keeper in a similar scenario, which was hit to fly straight out of the nets immediately by the desperate slide of a Harrogate defender. The referee quickly decided the effort went in. 3–0! The cheers weren't as great due to the moment of suspension, and the controversy about whether it went in definitely was there, as there were but microseconds in the time it actually passed the goal line and was kicked out if at all. But, Town fans! Here's your proof:

The second half was comfy and without too many mistakes anyway, and many may say the score didn't quite live up to the performance, but there's nothing to complain about. Practically the best thirteen players at this current time saw through the game at least in parts, functioned exceptionally well and were a treat to watch. A comfortable game once we picked up at the second half, and another seller for FCHT. The whistle blew after a worry-free half, and Town fans quickly filed out of the stadium before their extremities froze off.

We'll have to take the chances bequeathed to us on Monday's Curzon game at the Tameside if they have the skills their position suggests, but by today's result, there is nothing to fear. It'll be a heated cracker of a game regardless of the final score, and if you're not usually the one who'd enjoy getting pneumonia for your local team then I pray you take that evening's game as an exception. Hoping for a crowd in excess of 700 there, and if you'll be one of them then I'll happily see you there.


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