Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Halifax Town 1 – 1 Northwich Victoria; 07/09/10.


Sorry about missing out the last two matches. I attended them, I made sure that my voice could be heard from the far corner of the East Stand, but I've been doin' thangs. In a couple of weeks I'll cart off most of my possessions to Leeds and I had to secure a place to live there late on, so before I ever got to sit down, it would be the day of the following match.

We have emerged from the relief of seeing off Mickleover when the contest was close despite our three or more chances to every one of theirs to record an away victory, and have found ourselves pitted against current kings of the hill, Northwich Victoria. Or Sludgeheap Victoria as I like to call them, taking from a team in a Ball Boy cartoon I remember reading a decade or so ago in the Beano. Being top with 12 points over five games is impressive, but there's nothing of runaway favourites to that form. Undoubtedly they didn't take us lightly and we've managed to extend our unbeaten league run at home to at least 532 days.

Looking at it another way, Town, as pre-season bookie favourites, have won two, drawn three and lost one. Drawing to Sludgeheap shouldn't be anything of a shame, but consider how we played tonight. Consider how we played. No dosy doldrums at all this time and we set off immediately, pressing into their half and out of their comfort zone. All it required within ten minutes was for Holland to stick his foot on a squared-in ball from close range, and the vocal South Stand half of the 1166 punters erupted. We've got one past the leaders in the early stages. What, us worry?

Vardy's placement on the ball was fantastic. He knew exactly when to run and as a result, receives the majority of the balls addressed to our strike force. With good work from the Sludgeheap goalie, we were kept from leading 2–0. While that's still a lead that can be later matched by the other team, it's twice as hard to equal. Unfortunately, by the time our pressure died down in relation to Sludgeheap's, we were still that one goal up. Plenty to be proud of though. This is much of the Northwich side which were strong enough to fit comfortably in the BSN, with the same manager name of Andy Preece, an ex-Bury player-manager with adequate experience. Not one that could match us in fitness and skill for all the game though, despite the tug o' war that proceeded as the first half came to a close.

This tug o' war continued in the second half, and without much tension or fear of a goal, Sludgeheap did manage to breakaway and break even from . . . that's right, a set piece. We had put our players in the wrong places for a free kick, and from there it all went wrong. No clean sheet tonight.

These refereeing decisions weren't without contention. A reckless flying wedge of a two-footed tackle felled Matt Plummer with a nonexistent aim for the ball, and the result was a yellow card, after Sludgeheap players grouping around the scene a little closely. The referee continued to leave off where past flaming dog's abortions of referees have taken us in the last five games, awarding the other team the benefit of the doubt with 50–50s, ignoring a blatant pass-back, and generally being unable to spot a foul in a chicken coop (foul/fowl. Laugh please). Worst yet?

In the last ten we went all out, and I'm very glad to see a team with that dedication. Half of them just went wide or over; the other half were well-saved. What can you say? So far this season I've felt we've lived up to all the results in terms of points, but to have only one gained tonight—gross injustice.

The South Stand was fairly good tonight though, and didn't fail to get behind the team at most points, signing off very nicely with "Shaymen 'til I die." They also let the referee know their feelings, and rightly so.

So, across the board is a consensus that we was robbed, we was completely unlucky as ever and despite the result sounding credible, the work we put in would suggest an more convincing scoreline. I'm happy to see a team, strong but incomplete due to absences, put in so much and at their lowest merely match Sludgeheap, and hope that the 1QR of the FA Cup at home to Whitby gives a need for a lower octane game which we're almost certain, with this standard of play, to come out of as victors. Thank you to everyone who eschewed being the abused spouse of the English national team for another evening by turning up, and no thanks to the bint who escalated from verbal abuse to throwing a coin at the referee after the match, as well as the Sludgeheap junkie-features who saw it fit to lash out at our kind staff in the burger van. Honestly, please stay in your blow-up Chelsea armchairs next week.

Anyway. How'd you like to be part of another cup run like last year's? If we get through as many rounds, we'll be on the telly.

Halifax Town 1 – 1 Sludgeheap Victoria; att. 1166
Entertainment: 8/10

Halifax Town 1 – 1 Sludgeheap Victoria
Mickleover Sports 2 – 3 Halifax Town
Halifax Town 1 – 1 Colwyn Bay
Chasetown 2 – 1 Halifax Town
Frickley Athletic 0 – 0 Halifax Town


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