Since the first meeting in 1973, Cambridge United have faced Halifax Town AFC and current club FC Halifax Town 26 times up to the current day, including Wednesday’s victory for The Shaymen courtesy of Lee Gregory’s penalty.
Only one of these fixtures has come outside of league competition, with Town knocking The U’s out of the FA Cup in 2004. Sunday’s hosts however have a better head to head league record having won eleven matches compared to Halifax’s six, with eight matches being drawn.
The first encounter between the two came on 27th October 1973 at The Abbey Stadium in what was Division Three at the time. Dave Gwyther’s goal was the difference as The Shaymen secured an important victory during George Mulhall’s first spell in charge of the club. The win moved Halifax three places up the table into 12th place and three points clear of Cambridge.
Bill Leivers’ United side were eventually relegated that season but The Shaymen finished strongly in ninth, despite the return fixture at The Shay being won 1-0 by the visitors.
Before This Season:
It was the 2007/08 Blue Square Premier season where the two sides last met before this current campaign, and it was Cambridge who came out on top.
In the first fixture on Saturday 6th October the match ended in a 2-2 draw at The Abbey. Jon Shaw had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot before Marvin Robinson equalised a matter on moments later. Shaw then picked up his second yellow card on the stroke of half-time and was given his marching orders. Rob Wolleaston then gave Cambridge the lead, but despite their numerical disadvantage Town equalised with seven minutes left as Cortez Belle netted.
When the two sides met again at The Shay in February, Jimmy Quinn’s side took the spoils as goals from Mark Beesley and Lee McEvilly cancelled out Simon Heslop’s early opener for Town. The U’s held on despite having Mark Peters sent off with half an hour remaining. Cambridge finished the season in second place but were defeated in the Play-Off Final by Exeter City.
Doing The Double:
The previous season in 2006/07, Halifax completed their only league double over Cambridge. Again the first fixture was played at The Abbey and a goal in each half from Mark Roberts and Adam Quinn sealed a 2-1 victory despite Tommy Jaszczun’s late consolation.
Steve Torpey’s first half strike was the difference between the two sides back at The Shay in April as Town ran out 1-0 winners. The two sides finished level on 55 points but The Shaymen finished one place above their current play-off rivals in 16th courtesy of a marginally better goal difference.
On a Tuesday evening in October 1998 the two teams played at a highly entertaining 3-3 draw at the Shay, with both sides having held the lead at some point during the match.
Martin Butler gave the visitors an early lead on six minutes before Town stalwart Paul Stoneman equalised quarter of an hour later. Andy Thackery then gave Halifax the lead before Alex Russell then levelled things up once more before the interval. Again the Shaymen went in front when Jamie Paterson finished to make it 3-2 but they couldn’t hold on as substitute Ian Ashbee struck the finish the scoring at 3-3.
Cambridge United ended the season with promotion under Roy McFarland and The Shaymen finished five points outside of the play-offs in 10th position.
Biggest Halifax Victory:
The Shaymen knocked higher league opposition out of the FA Cup in 2004 by defeating Cambridge United 3-1 at The Shay. Town were in the Conference whereas their visitors were plying their trade in the Football League Two.
Martin Foster gave Halifax the lead only for The Shaymen to be pegged back before half-time by Shane Tudor’s strike. Then second half goals from Craig Midgley and Neil Ross sealed a cup upset and saw them progress into the second round of the competition.
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