Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Halifax Town 1 – 0 Bradford (Park Avenue); 19/10/10.


Forty years ago Halifax Town AFC and their closest rivals, the original Bradford (Park Avenue), met in their final local derby at the Shay. It was a strange parting gesture for both teams though neither would have predicted it: the Shaymen were to be promoted to the third tier, their first promotion in their history, while Bradford would flounder at the bottom of the league, before losing an appeal to stay among the elite of English football. Cambridge United replaced them, and Park Avenue struggled for a while, before going pop. Halifax Town enjoyed a few glory years, including league games against Aston Villa, before being relegated. Both stories sad, though us Shaymen were of course similarly tragic when it seemed like it had all ended two-and-a-half years ago.

But it hadn't, and our ascent has already begun. A mark of it being that our first league game against Bradford (Park Avenue) for decades came and went last night, this time in the form of two teams battling for promotion to the sixth tier.

An alright crowd had been predicted, but not the 2011 that turned up. We were packed in the South Stand which gave us the plus side of being huddled together in freezing cold weather, though the atmosphere never really came. Sing when we're boiling, we only sing when we're boiling.

The first goal in the clash between Rawson and Parkinson Lane.

The match itself grinded like a local derby would from the kick-off. It even seemed to take a while for Park Ave to kick off. They neared the box as we did, but after 10 minutes we got something together slightly reminiscent of domination. This culminated in one of Jamie Vardy's most dazzling runs yet where he sprinted down the left flank, took a Bradford defender on and surprisingly (even for Vardy) beat him, taking the ball another ten yards before leaving it for Holland to tear a hole in the net from close range after 15 minutes. The highest attendance in the league so far this season sustained its applause.

For once, and last night suited me nicely for it because we came out of it with a win, we failed to be clinical. Winning the headers and playing the more superior passing football only amounted to a half-time lead of 1–0. It could've gone either way I note, were it not for our defense being a far sight better than any Park Ave attack, Hogan clearing two balls off the line so the game could carry on being a laboured derby. The late Ronnie Bottomley would have been proud of how tightly we were marked. Our chances were the majority of chances though, including the token Deano sitter.

So, after an Aspin call-to-arms, will the crowds return? I felt we brought a few from the rotting woodwork of HTAFC and hopefully they'll take the result in perspective of our current form (10 straight wins! Six straight clean sheets!) and develop an interest. Another successful enough match, and great for our profile. You can't complain if the goal margin is slight. Saturday's match will have no bearing on the gathering crowds, saying we're home to Mansfield in the FA Cup 4QR and in expectation of a few thousand, but they'll come. A close match, but one that funnily enough wasn't in doubt.

Halifax Town 1 – 0 Bradford Park Avenue; att. 2011
Entertainment: 7/10

Halifax Town 1 – 0 Bradford Park Avenue
Durham City 0 – 2 Halifax Town
Halifax Town 4 – 0 Harrogate Town
Burscough 0 – 2 Halifax Town
Ashton United 0 – 3 Halifax Town

Independent review (Modus Hopper Random).


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