After a 1-1 draw away at Matlock Town on Saturday, FC Halifax Town will now welcome Saturday’s opponents to the MBi Shay Stadium to have another attempt at defending the FA Trophy.
It would seem that Saturday’s game would be the perfect place to start our look back of the previous meetings with Matlock, one that was almost the first upset of the competition.
An impressive first half display saw the home side get what they deserved after Curtis Morrison’s 45th minute opener. The forward slotted home into the bottom right corner to ensure that the Gladiators were leading going into half time.
The second half showed that Town continued to struggle against the home side until Alex Simmons popped up to deny the home side a victory. It took a while for the ball to find him, but when it did the super sub struck hard to make sure a replay was on the cards.
As full time came, there was relief from the travelling Shaymen fans and layers who could now focus on a home advantage for Tuesday night’s replay.
Before that, the previous meeting with Matlock came in pre-season where the Shaymen enjoyed a string of impressive results.
The game at the DCJ Insurance Group Stadium saw Town take the lead early on as Jordan Burrow, now of Gateshead FC, latched onto Tom Denton’s flick on and calmly finished past Matlock keeper, Phil Barnes.
However, just ten minutes later the home side were back in the game. Marc Newsham bundled the ball over the line after a pin-point low cross from Dwayne Wiley which sparked a period of high intensity from the Gladiators, although Town managed to see out any danger before half time.
Richard Peniket, brought on at half time by Billy Heath, had enjoyed an impressive pre-season and continued to demonstrate this in the making of Halifax’s second goal.
It was his pass to Josh Macdonald that set up the winger’s clean finish, re-taking the lead for the Shaymen. However, after what looked like another pre-season victory, the home side denied Town late on as Ryan King slotted home to end the game as a 2-2 draw.
The last time that the Shaymen and Matlock met competitively in the league was at the back end of the 2010/11 Northern Premier League Premier Division season as Town were looking to become the champions on home soil.
The Shaymen needed a win to claim the top prize which looked to be likely in the opening exchanges as Jamie Vardy’s cross found Lee Gregory in the box to put the home side 1-0 up, before Ross Hannah coolly converted his penalty to equalise for Matlock.
Although, nothing could stop the sheer impressiveness of Vardy. He tore through the Matlock defence to once again find Gregory arriving whose second goal of the game gave Town the lead into half time.
The Shaymen continued their top of the table from throughout the second half but failed to seal the win when they had the chance. Something which they were made to pay for.
A very late equaliser saw another penalty converted by the visitors in a cruel end to what could have been a very special afternoon for the home crowd. The result ultimately forcing Town to wait another week before the celebrations could begin.
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