Sunday, 15 August 2010

Trafford 0 – 2 Halifax Town; 14/08/2010.


Our fifth Saturday friendly is our last, and both players and fans alike should be happy about that. With most every other league in action however, steps three and four are the slow kids again and refuse to keep up, saving it for Sat 21st. Hence, the last two games have been with our newly ex-rivals from step four savagery, Clitheroe away (3–2 to us) and this here Trafford match, presumably both arranged as transfer agreements with Vardy/Garner and Metcalfe respectively, three squad-bolstering prospects.

A fruitless quest for guest ales at local pub Bird i'th Hand brought me to a cheese & onion Holland's pie with peas at Shawe View, followed by seconds at half-time. I've now visited the ground in three out of the four past seasons (autumn, spring and summer that is) and though it felt dull to return to a seemingly tiny place, the atmosphere is cosy, every single detail in the ground is well tended to, and there definitely isn't sporadic dumpings of litter here and there like well, Bamber Bridge's place. Our golden goal opportunity (home goal, 87th minute) was thankfully thwarted in the expected time—in about four minutes, Vardy perfectly lobbed the keeper from the edge of the side of the box.

Trafford faced the same problems they've always had with our Aspin-run team from then on, and their hoofs out calls came with the responses of us charging towards their ever-present defense. Like a bagatelle, our corners went straight to our headers, but our headers missed the net. We had a good share of close free kicks, including one which enraged a Trafford player so inordinately for a friendly that the referee forced a substitute out of him; a benevolent way of getting him off the pitch. Our thin lead wasn't under threat and it was OK to keep by half-time.

Immediately came the news that the inevitably doomed Blackpool were 3–0 up away to Wigan! For the time being, that will be the story we'll all relate to the start of the 10/11 footballing season, relievedly stopping Chelsea's 6–0 victory over WBA in the evening taking over the back pages of the papers tomorrow. Personally ecstatic that Blackpool were the team to nick the title off—for less than three hours.

Just like the last away day to Trafford, the half-time satisfaction of winning lead to the tedium of us not putting away our chances. The play was polite as a friendlies entail at our end and were the need there, I'm sure it would've been more. Something I really was hoping for, to give our new signings a taste of the effort we put in to so many competitive matches. Trafford steadily improved. Were it not for Hedge's anticipation, they could've brought it back, but luckily traffic was still going our way. A few opportunities for us lead with Trafford's number four hardnut/egotist clashing with his tubby 'keeper and them getting frustrated with each other. "DON'T DO THAT AGAIN!" barked #4, taking the goalie's confidence by a notch each time. Managing to finger one tough shot left of the post and punching a likely higher kick over the bar helped, but in the 89th minute our other Clit Hero signing and bleached wonder Garner fired home.

Neither we nor our players were that merry either. Facing Buxton at home, playoff candidates by merit of their pre-season run, wouldn't be as easy on the back of a draw and there came a little frustration. A decent enough cross by Tom Baker didn't quite go as planned in his mind, and he screamed "SHIT! FUCKING SHIT!"

But the second goal came, and straight after it boredom got the better of the ref' again who blew a whistle before normal time had even finished. An unfit Phelan seems doubtful for next week, and thoughts linger in my mind as to whether going to the Halifax Show would've been more cathartic, in the form of watching angry geese attack equally angry dads, rip-off ghost trains, and donut helpings as endless as the hay bales. But nah, this is my team, this is my duty. I'm in Edinburgh next week for Camp for Climate Action/Edinburgh Fringe Festival/Beirut and Richard Youngs live. My only wish is for Deano to return to play as soon as I return to the stands, to participate in a long and eardrum-rattlingly loud "DEANO! DEANO! DEANO!"

Trafford 0 – 2 Halifax Town; att. 250 approx.
Non-partisan entertainment: 4/10

FC Halifax Town: pre-season friendlies 2010/11
Brighouse Town 0 – 5 Halifax Town
Halifax Town 0 – 0 Droylsden
Hyde 1 – 1 Halifax Town
Halifax Town 0 – 0 Gateshead
Halifax Town 1 – 2 Grimsby Town
Clitheroe 2 – 3 Halifax Town
Trafford 0 – 2 Halifax Town


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