Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sporting Woodley versus FC Halifax Town; Tues 30th March 2010.


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I'm sat here, bringing in the Easter Holidays by opening up another creme egg (my god they taste good when you leave them festering on a bookshelf in a warm room overnight), with reasonable time to write an account of Tuesday night's game. Let's go!

After a lack of show at Fylde, I've decided to get in less of a tizz when writing accounts of games where we've dropped points. A certain way into the game however, I felt sure to be happy with at least one point.

400+ Shaymen braved the 25 miles or so over to the Stockport suburb in pouring rain expecting there to be so little in the way of defense in the Town side (Hardy suspended, Crossley injured, Hotte personal reasons, Payne work commitments) that they expected an all-out Keegan, with Aspin himself defending the back alone. We got there to see some true dedication to the Shaymen: Hotte showed courage to emerge, and Payne, driving back from London and back again for Wednesday morning, showed mid-week devotion only a handful of the fans themselves could claim.

Hopes that this would save the defense were in vain though, and Woodley had a successful potshot in the opening five minutes. Fair enough, we can drag a couple back from that. Then a deflection went through, Hedge bumbling a few feet too far from it. They were two-nil up inside 20 minutes (just five or so minutes after us spending 20 minutes in a 20-man queue for food), and the Woodley seemed to be taking this game the same way as they did when they slayed Lancaster and Colwyn by three-goal margins earlier this season on their plastic turf.



A gain on the Shaymen unseen in the entire season in the league, and a weird feeling came back to me. The lads failed to ever regain composure, and attempted to play the small pitch, though usually blocked by Sporting Woodley's middle two. Of several we were through with, a couple spent too much time on the ball, and a few others flew over. Then Gregory Lee fired from close range and bagged his first goal for the club. We were pretty happy really, and I chipped a bit off my umbrella, breaking off a spindle (got it fixed on Wednesday with an artfully-bent paperclip though, phew).

Not too long before the break, their goalie then made a name for himself. A couple of seconds late to the ball, he lunged at our Wilde and took him down outside the box, a kick that if any closer could well have resulted in a loss of an eye or a cracked skull, which gave the half-time break a very sickly feeling. Were it intended or unintended, it was a sending off if there ever was one, but the lino, a couple of metres away at the time, attested that it was only book-worthy. I think that's rubbish.



The second half resumed the sickly feeling. The slightest fear for the worst, annoyance that that goalie was still there, coordinating his team, and the fact my bundershoot had seen better days. Neither team had much possession, but the push of players brought them to the Woodley half much of the time, except when a great cross was executed, the finishing blow wasn't, and our balls were running straight into men. The rain refused to stop for an unsheltered half for those of us who couldn't sit in the tiny stand, and Aspin fielded three new men over the time (Hotte, Deano, Peers successively).

It finally worked in the final minutes, as many Town fans were sneaking out, when Deano fired one in that hit both posts before delighting 80% of the captive audience. And what was the difference? It was hit first time! Sporting Woodley take a lot of pride in their potshots, as do teams on every tier, and there are over ten occasions in most matches where an aim, hit and hope wouldn't go amiss.



As the ball was taken to the kick-off spot again, Woodley squeezed pretty much the first two shots of the half in, and we had a miss as far as I recall. Given us another few who knows, it could've been a winner, but we were given a decent amount of injury time and unlike Fylde, this 2–all finish felt like a win in the end. Good to get probably the most unpredictable remaining fixture out of the way and I fancy my chances more at Lancaster at home on the 10th.

As for the ground, I have probably described it before. Basically if Noddy had a local club to watch in Toyland, it'd have the anodyne community feel of Woodley's. Not to slate the club, one whose oldest player is about 27 and average at about 21. An alright team with top morale, balanced out from great confidence on their home (Astro)turf and the plantlife that grows on the away pitches, which they only managed to thwart last week with their first away win coming predictably at Rossendale.



Woodley Sports 2 – 2 FC Halifax Town; att. 514.

Ground: 4/10
Pitch: ???
Programme: 5/10 (couldn't be bothered printing the match on the cover and stuck it on with a sticker!)
Non-partisan entertainment: 6/10


Better views of these, including goals, interviews and more can be purchased with the consummate footballing experience that is the Shaymen Player.

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