JB was less worried about getting ‘Beat Again’ but was demanding fight and work-rate from the 14 who travelled to Brough (a small town 12 miles outside of Hull which is growing quickly and has an interesting Roman history). AFC started with 3 centre-halves, 4 in midfield and Rambo starting alone up front with support from midfield. Adie had returned from his spell in Hollywood, Stanley was back for the first time since his heroic shift against Man City, Bobbins had found a new knee bandage, youngsters Nathan and Lewis back after their impressive debuts and the squad also included 4 locals ‘Ull lads from Brough’s population of 7,000. A mixture of youth, age and more age certainly provided some X Factor.
The early stages were reasonably even as both sides took a few minutes to settle although we almost had to tell Skipper Matty Blackburn we would ‘Start Without You’ as he had a 15-minute pre-match chat about Manchester Citeh. Hull had an early chance when indecision at the back-saw Dave Barker having to rush out to block the ball behind for a corner.
Halifax took the lead after 15 minutes when Adam Probets rose like a man with ‘Wings’ to head home an in-swinging Matt Blackburn corner from 8 yards. ’Canonball’ header. ‘Once’ in the lead, Halifax never looked back.
The lead was doubled by a classy goal when a Rambo flick around the corner found Nathan in space down the left. From outside the box and ‘Against All Odds’, Nathan finished delightfully over the keeper and into the far corner. Just part of a very impressive 30 minutes from Nathan before he was replaced by Stanley having grabbed his first AFC goal.
A few minutes later, another Matt Blackburn corner clipped the bar and post. The third goal came when AFC broke in behind and the ball fell to Andy Littlefair who finished into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. ‘That’s My Goal’.
Halifax’s defence was working well with Matt Blackburn particularly influential down the right and JB, Adie and Adam organising themselves well and fighting against the almost ‘Impossible’ Sun. James ‘Skyscraper’ Barker was solid in a slightly unfamiliar left back role, Tony Pulis would salivate at the thought of an 18 foot 3 full-back. Ben Fawkes was controlling the midfield with plenty of willing runners round him. It is amazing the difference ‘When You Believe’ in one another and play with fight and tempo what this team can do.
It was almost 4 when Andy chipped the keeper only for the rebound to come back off the post. Hull did put up some fight and Luders decided the best way to defuse the situation was to get the opposition ‘Troublemaker’ maker in a headlock.
The fourth goal arrived when Matt Blackburn played in Andy, who ignored Rambo free in the centre, and his initial shot was parried by the keeper, but he followed up to head in the rebound. A goal which gave AFC a commanding lead going into half-time. Half-time message: “Forget about the clean sheet and keep battling and working. Don’t let them back into it and keep working the space.”
Lewis came on down the left after an hour replacing Stanley who had acquitted himself well. He caused problems from the start and played with a good amount of ‘Swagger Jagger’. Performance summarised when he was two-footed by the frustrated Hull full-back.
The fifth goal was simple but a good example of AFC exploiting Hull’s weaknesses. A ball was played into Rambo who laid it off to Ben Fawkes who played Andy through with a ‘Run’ on goal. Andy completed his hat-trick high past the keeper into the roof of the net. ‘Hallelujah’.
Edgar Davids lookalike Liam Walker came on to make his debut. Davids would probably have been proud of his Friday night preparation. Hull did get a goal when Adam Probets was adjudged to have fouled in the box – it certainly appeared that way from the terrifying noise that was made as the Hull player went down. Dave guessed the right way from the penalty but obviously still feeling the effects from his Friday night out with Edgar didn’t get very close to it. 5-1.
Adam Probets completed the scoring and getting his second, ‘Ghost(ing)’ in and heading into the far corner from another Matty Blackburn corner and in doing so giving him his 3rd assist of the game.
It could have been more with Luders deciding to unselfishly pass from a free-kick 20 yards out instead of going for another deflected goal. Fawkesy also shot wide when well-placed and hit the bar with a free-kick from wide. Liam and Andy both sliced shots wide and Lewis deciding to hit a car with his shot than put it within 30 yards of the goal.
After the game JB was able to laud the team’s efforts and despite not wanting to choose a ‘Hero’ when there were 14 ‘Heroes’ but singled out Matty Blackburn with some ‘Pillowtalk’. ‘Bleeding love’ games like this! It was never really in doubt but the ‘The Club is Alive’ and fighting.
Attendance: 176 children (none watching), 4 members of the AFC supporters’ Hull Branch, a man with a camera and a small catering van (which Lewis almost hit with his shot)
Now to back it up at Manchester United in the NW Cup in a fortnight.
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