Saturday, 3 April 2010

FC Halifax Town 1 – 0 Chorley; Fri 2nd April 2010.


The two home games giving us light relief between six away fixtures over just a few weeks bear some light relief: Lancaster's next Saturday being the game of the season promises the second highest attendance to Wrexham's, one of the greatest atmospheres, and hopefully a performance our way that stretches beyond the great. Which it most likely will. And today's was Chorley, not the most immediately remarkable of features, but one historic occasion as the first time Town fans are allowed into the new East Stand.

Though we dawdled and missed the first minute, we were still in on the match entertainment. Within a few minutes a corner found Payne's goalie-stranding head and on the sixth minute, the game's only goal had been made, and the champagne broke against the new ship. The first half followed through as one of the nicest halves this footballing season, always going forward with balls, many corners, a good amount of noise and none of the Chorley attacks seeming threatening. Their goalkeeper did a hell of a lot to try and save them from then on. The execution again just about lacked, and the low balls on a very choppy surface, but everything was up to scratch considering level of opposition. I say it would've been one of the nicest half of the footballing season, but I stood there needing a wee for most of it. Town fans expected more of the same in the second half.

In fact, we dozed a little. We did realise this after a little while, and a few torturously close goalmouth scrambles ensued. By and large though, it was a half of balls being just too short and an unsatisfying follow-up half. At times when Hedge perfectly judged a header of theirs, and a couple of blats at the nets which he could only tip over, we were hanging from the thinnest sinews.

It was a tough one, but the second half remained a fairly 50–50 affair, but out of it both goalkeepers played a vital part for their club by not increasing the numbers on the other side, and either defense just about cut it. It wasn't the best for us to watch for 45 minutes, balls going a little short, play not all there, but as much as it failed to grab the game, it served its purpose. A less settling part of it was Phelan being a bit out of it, getting frustrated and reaching his tenth yellow, meaning he's out for Ossett and Radcliffe. Points in the bag there really, but you can't be too self-assured and our midfield's thin in numbers on the run-in.

To the stand-opening! Not as many occasional supporters came in as possibly hoped for, but a good lot to be proud of. Chorley had the good grace of bringing one of the biggest away busloads too, which is refreshing. They have to be one of my favoured teams in this league, with a relatively high support, a tendency to play football and one of the best looking grounds in the whole country. The East Stand is alright for legroom, nothing as cold as I imagined, and it felt awfully prestigious like, walking down the runway, looking up at all the fans. Three sides were open, again for the first time since Wrexham, with 30 or so of the hardcore Skircoat grumblies remaining there. Quite something to see the Skircoat as populated as it would be during a pre-season friendly at 3am on a Monday against Mold Alexandra. I'd divulge in that EMC company deciding to run our food stalls, but it wouldn't be pretty to read.

It's one of the greatest bricks in the wall of the new club, anyway. The next thing we need doing with is obviously the title, but for a fan who has only even seen the East Stand with people in it twice, over a decade ago now, today's game was good, but the new beginning made it great.

FC Halifax Town 1 – 0 Chorley; att. 1508.
Top men: Hedge, Lowe, Baker.


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