The 2016/17 National League North season is now well underway, with Shaymen fans enjoying the start to life back in England’s sixth football tier.
In the first five fixtures of the league campaign, Town have produced three wins and two draws sending them straight to the top of the table. An indication that, to fellow National League North clubs, shows Billy Heath’s men will be a force to be reckoned with over the course of the season.
On Saturday, an impressive 4-0 home victory over Tamworth meant that the Shaymen continued their unbeaten run which stretches back to twelve matches including pre-season.
Up next, AFC Fylde stand in the way of a thirteenth match unbeaten as Town travel to the Lancashire coast for what is an extremely rare meeting between the two sides.
The only fixtures ever played against Fylde came seven seasons ago in only the second season under the Shaymen’s new club name, FC Halifax Town. AFC Fylde had been promoted to the Northern Premier Division One North at the end of the 2008/09 season, whilst Town were entering their second season in the same league.
The first meeting took place on a Tuesday night back in November 2009 where Town recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over the visitors. A brace from James Dean after Steve Payne’s opener left the home crowd suitably impressed with their team’s impressive start to the season.
However, shortly after this victory Town were unable to play a game for almost two months due to the disruptive, heavy winter weather allowing Lancaster City to take over as the dominant promotion force.
Fast forward a few months and the Shaymen were on the way to Kellamergh Park for the return fixture with the aim of continuing the promotion race to the Northern Premier League.
A 741 strong crowd at Kellamergh Park, 500 of which were travelling fans, watched on as the Shaymen came from behind through Michael Wilde and Nicky Gray before Joe Booth’s equalising free kick in the final minute of the game meant that the teams shared the spoils.
Despite dropping two crucial points, the Shaymen eventually managed to overtake Lancaster at the top of the table in early April. After holding onto the top spot until the end of the season, Town finished with 100 points easily securing promotion to the Northern Premier League.
In more recent events, AFC Fylde concluded the 2015/16 season with a 3rd place finish. After making it to the play-off final with an aggregate win over Harrogate Town, they were beaten 2-1 at Wembley by Heath’s North Ferriby United after extra time. Let’s hope that he can repeat that result for the Shaymen faithful on Saturday!
Remember, if you are not travelling down to the game there will be live match updates of all the action from AFC Fylde along post-match interviews with Heath and the lads available on the Town website and Shaymen Player HD.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist