Monday, 4 April 2011

Halifax Town 2 – 2 Matlock Town; 02/04/11.


If we'd won this one and Buxton dropped points, we'd have won the title once and for all. HALIFAAAXXX TOOOWWWNNN.

Which is precisely what didn't happen, despite going up in the second minute as a Vardy cross turned into a Holland header which turned into a Gregory tap-in as the three Matlock players running to the line were left helpless. An easy start as any, but during a threatening attack from the Gladiators 'Ardy blocked a shot off the line, before missing the ball and felling the soon-to-be Torquay full-timer Ross Hannah. The penalty was taken by the leader of Matlock's one-man-band himself, and the intimidating noise from the South Stand wasn't enough to deter him. After 14 minutes, it stood 1–1. For a while, the atmosphere which made Saturday's crowd appear larger than the official figure was brought down enough for, say, 30 or so travelling Matlock fans to become audible. I remember a similar amount coming from Farnborough midweek several years ago and finding it very funny, but now I react to it with a "Hey wow, haven't they got a great bunch of fans."

We remained relatively entertaining for a first half however, and were rewarded for shining with confidence as Vardy squared the ball in for Gregory to tap it in again. We were once again content to turn up on time for the promotion party under a cool spring sun, with Ossett-Buxton scoreless. As those scores stood we were mathematically going up, but sadly one goal went the wrong way in either game.

The Gladiators returned in the second half with two substitutions. Ross Hannah off, and their number nine off, though of course no-one knew his name as he wasn't Ross Hannah. This should've meant a more defensive second half for them surely, but on the 50th minute we gave CM Scott Phelan the first run since his injury, and for a quarter of an hour Town domination became the fashion. This is when we should've scored to make it 3–1, to make Matlock fall apart. As for Gladiators, they were far more interested in falling about the place than putting up a fight. Well, when they were drawing anyway. The chance that really should've put the game away was man of the match Garner's long-ranger which the 'keeper dropped like a flying cactus, and Lee Gregory couldn't reply to make it a hat-trick. A similar free kick to Garner's shot got easily saved, while a Matlock free kick at the other end went under the wall, bounced off the bottom post and Hedge displayed feline reflexes to box its rebound out of the way. Matlock's chance of the match was followed by a lovely bit of slapstick where Lee Gregory booted a ball for the net, and instead it met their #3's face, which floored the poor bastard.

And then, the 88th minute. Some Matlock player threw himself to the ground as Tommy Ten Men Baker leapt for the ball and for the millionth time in his career, wee Tom was punished for being the one to stay on two feet following the challenge. Matlock had a second penalty, and made it a 100% conversion rate. I imagine Matlock fans would always have a bit of dissatisfaction for the way they took a point back to the Peak District there, as I would've. With four minutes added time we lacked the tempo to create anything from that point, and as still-proud Shaymen left the ground, Aspin stormed onto the pitch to tell the ref' his interpretation of events. Oh well, we wanted to win the title at Retford's cow field anyway.

Halifax Town 2 – 2 Matlock Town; att. 2132.
Entertainment: 7/10


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