Sunday, 10 October 2010

Halifax Town 4 – 0 Harrogate Town; 09/10/10.


Watch the match highlights.

I take the very slight doubts I've had from time to time back. As in, when we don't win. Because when we don't, it's starting to feel very bad indeed. Neil Aspin really has designs upon this team. The way he helped his team carry out a demolishing of a troubled club, his old club that he got so close to promotion with on next to no money before leaving with no other choice, has been ruthless. Machiavelli on a 110 yard pitch. Before the match Aspin let us know that he was going to treat this game like any other tie against a step two team, and that he seemed to do. A reunion wouldn't be a good idea anyway, seeing as the Harrogate squad had completely changed over the past 18 months.

The spill of Shaymen & friends in the East Stand is looking healthy.

It was a great surprise to walk in and see a larger crowd then expected, and a party started at the same time kick-off did, us managing to sing for at least 85 minutes, exhausting literally every Town chant I could think of. Harrogate Town themselves could have brought one or two hundred, and pluckily sung along only to be drowned out whenever they did. A player of theirs ran onto the pitch in pink—I was guessing this was just the goalkeeper for a split second until it turned out they were all in pink. It's nothing short of noble to put yourself out like that for breast cancer awareness, but like that's going to stop the south stand from goading. They put in some good effort to start off with and some that made the two teams equal, though mysteriously they never got a shot in despite the pink presence in our third. After the routine finding-our-footing, we found ourselves deep into a pretty dirty game. Two-footers and  tackles on James Dean on goal etc etc, and a penalty was eventually given, along with a big fat red for their Pell. Naylor followed suit a few minutes into Harrogate's deficit for going two yellow cards too far: nine men before the break! With some composure, they began to realise the only way around a card-happy ref was to tone down the rough play, and by half-time it remained 1–0, though there was hardly a chance of that scoreline changing in their favour.

They're playing in pink? . . . PINK?!

A miraculous scenario to have at half time especially with the atmosphere, a number of buzzcuts in tracksuits appearing here and there who you don't normally see at the games. I'd imagine Aspin's words were few but to not make any silly mistakes and put a few more past them. Many shots got close, Gonzalez having to throw himself to the other side of the net for a few lethal shots (Baker being a chief suspect). Within only a handful of minutes Vardy signalled his return after being injured since Northwich with a rebounded close-range shot into the opposite corner, one that not a single goalie could get to. Gonzalez did his bit but the deficit had to be large. Both teams were behaving on the field save Harrogate Town getting very frustrated with some decisions . . . understandable for the more innocent ones when little could be played after two sendings off.

One to watch: Withinfields' no. 8.

Part-time fans were appeased when two goals in quick succession proved on paper that we really did lamp Aspin's old club. A bunch of Harrogate delegates had abandoned the stands after a smooth Taylor tap-in. It would've been heartbreaking were they still there to witness their old man Holland hammer the penultimate one from the edge of the box. A fifth went in but was declared offside, which the finish certainly wasn't but who's to complain. We were the lower league side and the better side, and with three knockouts we are officially on a cup run!

An interesting aside, since Following the Shaymen prides itself in its impartial coverage: many H'gate fans are happy with this result. Why? Their manager Weaver has been accused of being out-of-touch and being inept à la Jim Vince, with a good eye for players but not a single clue on how to put them on their mettle. Nothing is expected, but they hope such a diabolical result for them is exactly what's required to see the man out, a man who has no intention on resigning himself. An official joined the fan forum purely to rudely rebuke an open letter of complaint on there, and with its harsh words sizzling on my mind I see eye-to-eye with their plight. No matter how the performances are going, the fan is the one they should be treating above anyone else. If a fan has been supporting your team longer than you've been in charge of it, then take their words into consideration. They may just have a point to make. Cheers!

4QR. The one before the 1st Round. Will we appear on the small screen this year? Many would fancy us against any contenders for Monday's draw. There is the relative ease of Frickley or Sheffield FC, FC United of Manchester and then the true gift clash between Lincoln Moorlands Railway (cute name and second bottom of the NCEL) and Mossley AFC. Then there's even York City, Grimsby and a few others, who we could also hold our own against at our current standard. A slightly bigger party (probably) awaits in two Saturdays' time, but the focus for many Shaymen right now is clenching a win against whoever that will be, and the never-forgotten taste of league opposition.

Halifax Town 4 – 0 Harrogate Town; att. 1834
Entertainment: 8/10

Halifax Town 4 – 0 Harrogate Town
Burscough 0 – 2 Halifax Town
Ashton United 0 – 3 Halifax Town
Halifax Town 4 – 0 Hucknall Town
Ashton United 1 – 2 Halifax Town

Independent review (FA Cup Groundhopper).


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