FC Halifax Town U19s side came into the National League Alliance League Cup Semi-Final against Hastings United at Weetwood Sports Park unbeaten 18 matches and confident they could make the final.
Goals from Sunderland, Cham and Anku secured victory for Town to take them to the final in a fiery affair between the two teams including two red cards and a manager been sent to the changing rooms.
The game started slowly but in the seventh minute a goal scored by Sunderland for Town. First real chance of the game. A pass back never made it back to the keeper Sunderland ran onto it left him one on one with the keeper. Rounded him with ease to tuck it away.
A quarter of an hour into the game Hastings first opportunity came from a free kick on the right wing right in the corner. After an evenly contested header the ball slowly looped up to be collected by town keeper Atkinson.
Not five minutes later Town thought they were two up approaching the half way mark of the half from the head of centre back Clayton from a free kick, only to be ruled out by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Half an hour in Hastings starting to grow into the game. Good work from Duckaway on the left wing brought the ball into box leading to a scramble in front of goal. A shot finally got away but a sliding block from Clayton put the ball out for a corner. Tallest man on the pitch Janneh for Hastings got his head on it but couldn’t trouble Atkinson in goal.
10 minutes before half time Town doubled the lead through Cham. Swales played a low hard across the face of goal from the right wing and Cham running in hard easily tucked it in at the back post.
Just before half time Town had a great opportunity to get three before half time. Healey made good space for himself in the middle of the park. He looked up and played a nice through ball between two defenders for Cham to run into the box. Cham cut onto his left foot but good goalkeeping him charged him down before he could get the shot away.
Hastings were close to pulling a goal back from a corner before half time. But were stopped by Healey making a vital goal line clearance with his head.
Walker-Barth clipped the post from just outside the box with his right footed curled effort just before the referee blew for halftime.
Hastings started the brighter of the two sides. A low hard shot from outside the box provided the first real test for Towns keeper Atkinson, as he dived one handed to his right to pull off an excellent save to keep Towns two goal cushion.
Not 10 minutes into the second half a double chance fell to Hastings. First a header at the back post into the ground was again saved by Atkinson diving across to his left and out for a corner. The following corner fell to a Hastings player outside the box a low drilled shot looked all set to be going in, but captain Moloney cleared off the line.
Approaching the hour mark Hastings right back Harvey was sent off for a second bookable offence for a horror challenge on Cham.
Swales had Towns first opportunity in the second half in the 68th minute after a dominant start from Hastings to the second half.
First clear chance for tell fell to Sunderland just after the 70th minute mark. Dribbled through the defence, to but his chance was put over the bar.
After Sunderland’s chance Hastings went straight up the field and won a corner. From the corner Hastings centre back Climpson rose the highest to head to ball past Atkinson to pull one back with less than 20 minutes to go.
Soon after Hastings manger was sent to the changing room after kicking a ball at Town right back Jay Benn.
With just over five minutes of normal time remaining Knight received his second yellow card to equal the teams to 10 against 10. Knight was given offside, after it was given Knight kicked the ball away to receive his second yellow.
Sunderland has a chance to put the game beyond doubt, going through on goal cut back on his left to sell the defender and blazed his chance over the bar.
Super sub Anku sealed the victory and Towns trip to the final scoring the third and final goal cue massive celebrations on the bench all the team coming together to celebrate the winner.
Town will face Chester in the final following their win over Boreham Wood in the other semi-final.
Read more posts by Jack Reading