A slight in-house matchup took place on Saturday morning as Afc Halifax came up against the Afc Halifax Junior team. The junior team being not so junior anymore, with Matt Blackburn turning his young spotty teenagers into full on young adults who would certainly give the Afc Halifax lads a good game having beaten a makeshift team a few months ago.
Afc Halifax would be starting with a man less however, until Kev Dawson would be arriving 30minutes into the game so they would be straight up against it, probably not helped with one of Ash’s mates, Ste, dropping his water container in the car park and waking everyone up within a 2 mile radius of Hipperholme.
The game started with the juniors very much on top, passing the ball nicely and trying to find some gaps in the Afc Halifax guard. The guard being held up by a new centre back partnership of Adam Ramsden and Adam Probets, with Rambo being dragged back from his usual striker role into a role more seen in 2010 where he would be breaking up attacks instead of starting them. With the juniors becoming frustrated by the lack of clear chances and resorting to pot shots it would be Afc Halifax who would break the deadlock.
Marcus, who was filling the strikers role, finally got a good ball into feet and played it back to Probets, with Marcus grabbing the attention of the juniors backline with a run into box, is was Ste who bombed on, the ball came forward and he beat the offside trap to slot away past the goalkeeper with real confidence.
The lead though would not last long however, as the juniors levelled things up soon after Afc had got their noses in front with Josh, who has done very well for the senior team when called upon, bagging the equaliser. The ball was half cleared by the defence and as Adam Probets went to finish the clearance, a perhaps clip of the ankles led him to tumble to the ground “play on” screams the referee as the young whippersnapper picked his spot and finished well past Ash’s other mate Jez, who was having a solid game in-between the sticks.
The half rumbled on with Kev now making an appearance and matching up the teams in terms of numbers, and it certainly helped the hard-working midfield of Afc Halifax get more involved in the game. The half time whistle blew, and it was 1-1 at the break. As most of the lads were able to get some fluids on board the message was clear, keep the ball better, keep battling and keep working hard for each other.
The game restarted and it continued in a similar fashion to the first half. The juniors having lots of possession but struggling to find a way past the two centre halves who batted everything away like a prime Freddie Flintoff, with Cal and Chris Dawson barely letting the wingers get past them. Halifax when in possession played some nice stuff and created a few half chances. More shots from distance though from the juniors, more getting shut out. They had not been this frustrated since their teachers gave them rubbish GCSE grades in May.
The juniors though plugged away and did eventually get their goal which they probably deserved. The midfielder found himself with a lot of time on the ball, played a ball over the top of Ramsden, which with little communication for the first time between the defence and the goalkeeper, led to Jordy finding the gap and finishing calmly past Jez. A good goal and one I am sure manager come 49-year-old junior right back Matthew Blackburn would have been happy with.
The juniors however failed to pull away and struggled to extend their lead, as the game went on Afc became more confident on the ball and found gaps in the backline with Marcus and Wrighty both having efforts saved by the keeper. Adam Probets travelling out of the back causing the juniors to retreat, Adam Ramsden also finding some defence splitting balls, one in particular, with a lovely cross onto the head of Marcus who couldn’t quite direct it into the corner of the goal and instead found his effort straight down the throat of the keeper. A rare sight as Marcus had been so good in the air, showing that when you work hard in head tennis at training, results will show on the pitch! The tide was turning, and Marcus decided to play his joker card and move Ramsden up front and start going more direct.
The more direct approach was working in Afc Halifax’s favour as the juniors struggled to deal with a more physical presence. With 5 minutes to go, Callum with his magical right boot, managed to work some space from a Ramsden flick on and was fouled just outside the box. Up stepped Ramsden surely to try power an effort at goal. The wall looked solid and with Callum just pulling off the 4 man wall slightly, it left a gap, Ramsden tried a fake shot free kick and instead slid the ball past the side of the wall and into the path of an alert Callum, a low driven cross across goal led Adam Probets to score from just a few yards out. A well worked set piece that bamboozled the juniors.
The minutes ticked by however with little else of note, both sides seemingly happy with the draw, with the only loser being the poor water bottle that can be found in 200 pieces in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe carpark. A good performance from both sides and hopefully we will see more of the juniors progressing and playing their football in the senior side this season.
Afc Halifax 2 – 2 Afc Halifax Juniors
Goals – ‘Ash’s mate’ Ste and Adam Probets
Man Of the Match – Adam Ramsden
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