FC Halifax Town kicked off the new Vanarama National League season with an opening day 2-0 defeat against Barnet at the Hive.
Town boss Chris Millington gave league debuts to Tyler Golden, Jamie Stott, Jordan Keane, Mani Dieseruvwe and Sam Smart. New Captain Tom Clarke made his first league appearance for the Shaymen since the 22nd March 2008 which came at the end of his loan spell from Huddersfield Town having joined Town last weekend from Fleetwood Town.
The first goal of the game came in the first half with Ephron Mason-Clark’s first half strike, the Shaymen went down ten men as defender Jamie Stott was shown two yellow cards with 20 minutes left and Nicke Kabamba finished the game with a strike past Johnson to round off a comfortable victory.
It was the home side who started the game brightly winning a corner in the first minute, but Jack Senior was on hand to clear the danger.
A freekick into the Town box found Nicke Kabamba but he was only able to head the ball over Sam Johnson’s bar.
Sam Smart and Tylor Golden combined and the cross went into the box, but Jordan Slew could only head wide of the target.
Town had the offside flag to assist them as Kabamba had the ball in the net having been played through and he fired the ball into the net but he was to be denied.
However, the home side took the lead through Ephron Mason-Clark, he was put through past the Town defence, Johnson came out but he chipped it past the Town Goalkeeper and the ball came off the bar for the opening goal despite appeals for offside.
Barnet looked to find a second, Ryan De Havilland had an opportunity from the edge of the box but Johnson got down well to save to his left before a freekick into the box, headed on and Ben Wynter header was tipped over the bar by Johnson for a corner. Dale Gorman’s ball into the box was too close to Johnson who punched clear.
Town had an opportunity with a freekick into the box, it was cleared out to Jamie Cooke but his shot was well wide of the target.
Jamie Stott was booked after a challenge in midfield and was booked for throwing the ball away as Barnet had looked to start an attack which would come back to haunt him late in the game.
The travelling fans were celebrating a couple of minutes later as Town had the ball in the net as Slew found Gilmour, and the shot was turned home by Mani Dieseruvwe but the offside flag halted the celebrations at the other of the ground.
Dieseruvwe turned in midfield and he had plenty of space, he drove forward but shot wide of the target.
A good run from Senior, saw his cross blocked for a corner. Cooke into the box, Diarra head out, Golden back out to Cooke, he played it back to Senior but the cross sailed out for a goal kick
There were appeals for a backpass, Dieseruvwe down the right, his ball back to Gilmour and cross in was touched back to Walker by a defender but the referee Robert Massey-Ellis waved away the appeals for the backpass.
Chris Millington made his first substitution with Milli Ali on for Sam Smart.
It was Alli who came on and looked lively, he and Gilmour combined, Alli had chance to get the ball in but overhit the cross and out for a goal kick,
Town went down to 10 men as Stott was sent off for a second bookable offence over on the far side, Jordan Keane moved back into the defence and Luke Summerfield came on for Jamie Cooke in the reshuffle.
The home side continued to create chances, a shot went into the side netting by Ryan De Havilland before Alli shot from distance for the Shaymen was always rising when he had other options.
Kabamba made sure of all three points with his first goal of the season, he was put through 1-1 on with Johnson and he fired into the net to give the home side all three points.
In injury time, the bar came to the Shaymen’s rescue with a vicious shot that had Johnson beaten.
Town are back at home for the first time next Saturday since May with Torquay United the visitors 3pm kick-off.
1 Laurie Walker, 4 Danny Collinge, 6 Jerome Okimo, 8 Dale Gorman ©, 9 Nicke Kabamba, 11 Ephron Mason-Clark (18 Connor Smith 86), 14 Harry Pritchard, 21 Ben Wynter, 27 Moussa Diarra (23 Sam Beard 69) 32 Sean Shields (7 Rob Hall 80), 33 Ryan De-Havilland
Subs: 12 James Callan, 2 Jordan Thomas
FC Halifax Town:
1 Sam Johnson, 2 Tylor Golden, 3 Jack Senior, 6 Jamie Stott, 15 Tom Clarke ©, 16 Jordan Keane, 20 Harvey Gilmour, 19 Jamie Cooke (4 Luke Summerfield 69), 9 Mani Dieseruvwe, 11 Sam Smart (21 Milli Alli 60), 25 Jordan Slew (17 Rob Harker 75)
Subs: 14 Jack Hunter, 24 Sam Minihan
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis
Goals: mason-Clark 14, Kabamba 81
Yellow Cards: Stott 33, Pritchard 90
Red Cards: Stott 65
Attendance: 1286 (187 away)
Barnet 2 FC Halifax Town 0
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