On Saturday 23rd February AFC Halifax entertained Chester FC. Gaffer John Barker was looking for a ‘Sunshine of Love’ response from his side off the back of a 4-1 defeat to the hands of friendly rivals Bury FC last week. Some would argue that the squad he had to choose from would cause various headaches for the chief as it looked on paper the most strength in depth AFC have had to choose from for a very long time. Great to see May I add!!
After careful consideration he lined up with what seems to be the more preferred 5-3-2 defensive approach with D.Sutton between the sticks, 3 CB’S – S.Heaton, A.Probets, J.Barker. Wingbacks – M.Blackburn, C. Hannan. Midfield 3 of M.Stapley, M. Probets, J.Luders. Front 2 of A.Ramsden, L. Blackburn.
On this spontaneously hot day for the month of February in the ‘Sunshine’, AFC Halifax began the contest playing ‘Into the Sunshine’ after ‘Captain Sunshine’ Matthew Blackburn lost the toss.
The match started with no real conviction from either side apart from the odd couple of half chances here and there but it was to be the hosts who would open the scoring on the 22nd minute with some neat play between Stapley and AFC prospect Blackburn who slotted it right in the path of Stapley who carefully composed himself and fired into the bottom left hand corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Into the 31st minute of the game and AFC Halifax doubled their lead with once again some neat football between the lads, Luders cut it back to M.Probets on the edge of the box who curled the ball into the top right hand corner.
2-0 was then to very quickly become 3-0 with Hannan venturing forward (who ultimately ended up with a nosebleed), he passed the ball into the feet of Ramsden who held his man off well, played the ball back into Hannan who continued his run and he placed the ball over the on rushing keeper.
It was to get even better for the home side that ended up leading 4-0 at the break thanks to some clever work by Ramsden who very patiently waited for Stapley who cut the ball back to the edge of the box and Ramsden finished with a plum first time into the bottom corner.
Into the second half AFC Halifax made 5 changes introducing the likes of Ashton, Caufield, Noble, Hollands and Addy but gaffer Barker wanted more of the same.
In truth, the second half didn’t quite go to plan for the hosts who ended up conceding 3 quick goals with around 20 minutes to play. At this point main CB’s A.Probets & J.Barker had been taken off to rest (I see a pattern emerging!!).
With around 8 minutes left on the clock, M.Probets whipped in a corner which was met by the traditional Heaton’s shoulder giving Heaton his 14th Shoulder goal of his career and giving AFC Halifax the breathing space back to see the match out in ‘Superman Sunshine’ by 5 goals to 3.
FT on this ‘Good Day of Sunshine’ for AFC Halifax but ‘No Sunshine’ for Chester FC.
AFC Halifax 5-3 Chester FC.
Man of the match – A. Probets.
‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’
Rumours have it a lot of the fans walking out of the H&L Stadium were in full voice together singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ in the direction of the AFC Halifax dressing room as they were delighted with their team and excuse the expression but almost ‘Walking on Sunshine’. Manager Barker commented “At least they are happy and why shouldn’t they be after that first half display”.
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