Saturday, 27 March 2010



Sadly, Lancaster remain top of the table after taking the points in the last few minutes again, making it 2–1 against Mossley. Around ten substitutes, a referee, two linesmen, a physio, a bored-looking ballboy, a few officials and the odd fan attended the Lancashire to-and-fro at the Giant Axe.

But with a more convincing win, the Shaymen held their first away clean sheet in two months with a well-deserved 3–0 scoreline against Trafford. The end result is a two-goal push against our fellow title-contenders, and something I'm footballistically (ta for that one, Arsene) happy to take; the score I predicted on Wednesday.

The three points come against a mid-table outfit who were more up for a game of football than ever. It was prevented the last two times I saw them due to the goalkeeper ever falling over so their physio (young blonde woman) could run on and dab him again. The rotund keeper, guarding a nice set of league-standard nets today, asked for no heed this time around and as a result, he was bullied by the fans behind the net far less for his unfootballing size. Also, has anyone noticed that several Unibond physios are all young, baseball cap-wearing women with really long blonde hair? Don't remember any of their faces however, just in case it turns out that it's the same one, deployed to the most-attended game every matchday.

Oh no though, today the keeper stood in the way of several Town shots that weren't flying to either side of him, and got his fingers to a few others. At one point I retrieved a stray ball which I accidentally kicked toward the corner flag rather than him, and I apologise about this because it wasn't a matter of wanting to make him run a little or waste time, rather after not playing football properly in a decade, I'm a rusty cog. He won't be happy now either way, as three goals did go in, book-ending both the start and finish of the game. The first came two minutes after the kick-off, Wilde being released perfectly and cleanly putting the ball away.

Play came and receded from then on, but it was mostly Town domination. Trafford had two attacks early on after Town's two, but from then on the 50:50 play was over. It was another case of one-way traffic this time, though a nice change to see it away from home too. There were moments among these, Syko's very early save-forcer, narrow misses, some excellent crosses and balls that weren't executed early enough. The first half was a wave-off with certainty that some killing-off goals would come our way.

Normal service continued in the second half, but as mentioned, the shots ranged in quality but never tested so much. To liven up our forward few Peers replaced Sykes and an unimpressive Dean went off for new striker Lee Gregory a little later on, but play was starting to get tentative when things were at 1–0 in the final quarter what with our record for throwing things away. We let Trafford get back in it a little, if enough to attempt to penetrate our solid defense although Hedge wasn't given any challenges. The grumbly windbags stood around me (need to be more selective where I stand) really kicked off when loaned man Barnes, a man who has left no impression on Aspin's promising mold, was sent off after allegedly headbutting a man, and said goodbye to a short and unremarkable career as a Shayman.

Though this brought us to the height of clenched teeth for the game, it was a good reason for the lads to act on Aspin's urgent words to put more in. Peers struck a low shot from outside the box that completely bypassed the Trafford 'keeper just before injury time, and gave one for Nick Gray to easily put away a couple of minutes later. The crowd went from panicky to very much satisfied, and the "RUBBBISH PEERS, AS USUAL" moans seemed more moronic than ever. Super sub.

Lee Gregory had pace, but with little given to do couldn't to put his name on the score sheet. The fans were few and quiet today, but certainly happy by the end of things. As for the 20 Trafford part-timers who went off just before Barnes was too: why? You clearly have no license to chant "We love you Trafford, we do" when you've just sneaked out at your most hopeful moment of the game!

Our time at Shawe View was exactly how the guy with the microphone described it: a pleasant afternoon. The temperature was edging on the tens, dry weather and rolling clouds made it a good opportunity to lie on the banking behind one of the goals. And the pitch was in fantastic nick, not a speck of mud showing through, even around the nets, oddly considering the goalie's hippopotamine figure. Their groundsman has been nominated for an award and it shows: a flat, lined surface, no litter even in the ground's recesses.

The ground itself has been a work in progress in the 19 years of Trafford FC's existence. In its current state it has two opposing stands lengthways, a banking behind one goal and cover over part of the other. The stands themselves are basic as they come—galvanised tin on poles, and backless. It sounds rather lacking but what we had was a ground kept so trim that it qualified as an excellent venue. That and it was one of the few places I've been to flogging cheese and onion pies, which is always very welcome. Just a nice tidy place in nice tidy surburbia Mancunia.

At half-time, the guy with the microphone announced they were soon to face Lancaster again on the 13th, a rare day's rest after the Shaymen play Curzon Ashton. Well, it fits snugly inside the Easter holidays for me, and I'll entertain the thought. It'd be a pleasure.

Trafford FC 0 – 3 FC Halifax Town; att. 512.

Ground: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10
Programme: 4/10 (lots of stats, very little write-ups!)
Non-partisan entertainment: 8/10
Top men: Peers, Wilde, Phelan, Sykes


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