Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Halifax Town 1 – 5 Vauxhall Motors; 17/09/11.


I'm writing this on the Wednesday, having seen Town take on Guiseley the night before. It's odd how that's happened, as I felt like writing this report as soon as I got home from the match, but even by the morning after I was pretty much speechless.

So, Vauxhall Motors. Eff Cee. Vauxhall Motors FC. When others try to justify the tinpot nature of football at lower levels, if they don't want to stop at the absurdity of Accrington being a "Stanley" or ask you where the hell Forest Green is, everyone can laugh at the expense of Ellesmere Port's biggest team. But where is Ellesmere Port? It's west of Runcorn and Frodsham, bordering on the Wirral. Whatever that makes you think, Vauxhall are a works team that have survived the demands of Conference North football for several years and with all banana skins in mind they were way, way better than us.

This Saturday broke my heart. A few minutes in Toulson grappled with a Vauxhall forward, seemingly out of the area. But the forward fell over in the area and Josh Wilson converted the penalty. 14 minutes in, Dean was about to be put through on goal as midfielder John Bennett pulled him down and received a red card for his ill-judged effort. So the Motormen were 1–0 up and 10 men down with so much opportunity for the Shaymen to get a little something. Baker's free kick tested the goalie pretty well, but not well enough. Golden opportunities followed, Gregory missing two good headers by angling them both a little to high and Baker's daisy-cutter which zipped just wide.

Then, just before our brains could adjust to the concept of going 2–0 down, Motors' Craig Mahon ran for a loose ball and struck it past everyone in front of him, scoring a screamer from out of the box. It was Vauxhall's next attack that then made it 3–0, a free kick inside the halfway line which went to Leighton McGivern who ran along with it and struck past Eastwood with momentum. Shock was served up in the South Stand and sadly some booing.

After a long half-time break, Town performed the best we'd get from them all afternoon. Surrounding a rebounded shot which Deano rolled past the 'keeper to make it 3–1, there was some hope that the Shaymen had finally arrived. Then, of course, shortly after this confidence boost, Baker of all people gave away a sloppy pass to McGivern, who took it one step, two step, and with his left foot . . . fuck me. From 35 yards out, McGivern's strike hit the top-right corner of the net, far out of the reach of any goalkeeper around. Devastating at any level.

From then on we were heads-down and didn't allow ourselves to make any semblance of a comeback. Our defense stopped short of rolling out the red carpet for the best opposition striker we've seen at the Shay for ages and ages, our midfield had the patience of an 8-year-old trombonist spending hours on his scales, and our striking was as sloppy a force as a few drunks trying to aim their wee properly.

To close the scoring, McGivern completed a hat-trick with a free kick that swung past the wall and curled into the far-left of the goal. He was then substituted to the biggest applause of the game, all across the ground. Half the crowd had left, and the atmosphere stung.

Remember: ten men.

There were so many faults with that match I don't know where to begin and to end, and which points are more valid than others. At the time, I still had confidence however, that Aspin's thoughts were more relevant than the fans'.


Halifax Town 1 – 5 Vauxhall Motors; att. 1265.


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