It felt like a lifetime had passed since we were last surrounded by the infectious buzz and electric atmosphere of the MBi Shay Stadium before Tuesday night’s game against FC United of Manchester, but at last we made a return to our second home to see the Shaymen delight us with a resounding 3-1 win.
And with another win under their belt to make it seven wins on the trot, FC Halifax Town’s focus is now on Saturday’s fixture; a home clash against Brackley Town.
This will be only the fourth meeting between the two clubs, and it’s fair to say, the previous three results have had very crucial meanings.
As we take a trip down memory lane, we’ll start by concentrating on the initial meeting between the Shaymen and the Saints, which took place exactly four years ago today. It was 27th October 2012, with Halifax coming into the game on the back of a home defeat to Lincoln. The month of October had been unkind to Halifax, who had only won one game in their last five.
The game though, was unkind to both fans, especially in terms of entertainment value. Owen Story clattered the crossbar via the freekick only a few minutes into the game, however that attempt was the closest either side would come to scoring. The game was closely contested but neither side could break each other’s defences down or beat their respective keepers.
Lee Gregory was denied just after the break by Saints keeper Billy Turley, and Marvin Robinson nearly opened the scoring for the hosts but his header went over the goal. The hosts also had penalty claims dismissed after Hogan was accused of fouling Steve Diggin in the area.
The game ended in a draw, meaning Halifax had failed to score in their last three games, so you could only hope that the reverse fixture provided more entertainment.
Alas, that hope was wasted. Another 0-0 was in store for the Shaymen in March 2013, although they did put in a much better performance, dominating the game while Brackley struggled. Matt Pearson headed over early on and Gregory created two good chances.
With minutes to spare, Brackley had Turley to thank for saving them a point as he saved well to deny Gregory’s shots and Gareth Seddon’s volley. The game ended with no goals once again, but it was the third and most recent fixture where goals would become so much more important.
As the season ended, Brackley finished 3rd while Halifax finished 5th, and after the Saints and the Shaymen beat Altrincham and Guiseley in the play-off semis respectively, it meant the two sides would face off again to decide who would follow Chester to the Blue Square North.
The setting for this showdown was St James’ Park, Brackley, on the 12th May 2013. The two league meetings had been close encounters and this one was no exception. Dan Gardner went close for the visitors early in the first half, lashing wide after a great dribble through two defenders.
However, that would be the closest attempt for quite some time as a sense of déjà vu seeped into the game. Rain also seeped into the game, although ‘seeped’ is probably a lighter choice of word. As the rainfall hammered down, the chances did eventually come. Gregory and Lee Johnson had chances both skim wide, while Sean Williams had his shot blocked well. With extra time beckoning in unholy conditions, there needed to be one man to step up to the plate and deliver the goods. Enter, Lee Gregory.
Gardner played a sumptuous one-two with Williams before his goal bound shot was saved by Turley. However, Gregory was on hand to fire the ball into the net right in front of the travelling Shaymen faithful who unsurprisingly erupted in the away stand.
Matt Glennon did well to deny a Brackley equaliser as he saved a long-range effort, and the resulting corner created a heart-in-mouth moment as the ball was headed inches wide.
However, the full-time whistle did come and Halifax were promoted, much to the delight of the fans, players and Neil Aspin alike.
At this stage of the season, there’s a long way to go before any potential play-off finals, but we’re hoping that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself in terms of the past league meetings between Halifax and Brackley and instead we get a belter of a game!
FC Halifax Town face Brackley Town at the MBi Shay Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist