Words by Oliver Thompson & Lewis Tomlinson
FC Halifax Town were narrowly defeated by ten man Notts County in their first fixture at Meadow Lane since 1973, courtesy of a goal from former Town man Kyle Wootton.
Pete Wild made two changes from last weekend’s home defeat against Yeovil, with club top scorer Liam McAlinden returning to the side on the left flank and new signing Charlie Cooper starting in midfield.
The game started slowly as the hosts began to test the Halifax left hand side, as Notts County wing back Richard Brindley, who, like Cooper, was making a first start for his club, delivered in numerous dangerous crosses into the Halifax box, but none of which were not able to adequately test Sam Johnson’s goal.
The hosts continued to press their visitors, but Pete Wild’s men fought back and managed to hit them on the counter, as Charlie Cooper played the ball through to Cameron King, who switched the play to Jamie Allen. Allen was able to earn himself some space and get a shot away, but it was no real test for their stopper Sam Slocombe, and Notts County recovered well and cleared away.
Wes Thomas perhaps had the most notable chance of the first half as his powerful effort on goal from distance was saved by the heroics of Sam Johnson who was at full stretch to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.
The half time whistle blew after a fairly uneventful, yet even first forty-five minutes, with the majority of football being played in midfield and neither side able to establish a rhythm.
The game could’ve changed complexion, as the hosts were then reduced to ten men when their veteran captain Michael Doyle was given a straight red card by referee Andrew Miller early into the second half for a dangerous high challenge on Shaymen the debutante Charlie Cooper, who showed a good willingness to put his body on the line for his new club.
Not long after though, it was ex-Shaymen loanee Kyle Wootton who broke the deadlock as Jim O’Brien, who caused Town problems all game, played through Wes Thomas. His strike was initially denied by a great save from Johnson but as Town failed to clear, the ball fell to Kyle Wootton, who made no mistake and fired it into the back of the goal to push the Magpies into the lead.
Despite having a numerical disadvantage, Neal Ardley’s side looked well disciplined and comfortable throughout the second half, and were able to react to going a man down in a professional manner. The Shaymen were unable to gain a foothold in the game, with their best chance falling to Tobi Sho-Silva, who made contact from a diving header to substitute Jeff King’s cross from right hand side, but Sho-Silva could only head into the ground and the ball’s bounce took it over the bar.
Notts County had another good chance late on as more good work from O’Brien played Wes Thomas through on goal before he was stopped by a excellent defensive combination of Jerome Binnom-Williams and Josh Staunton on the edge of the six yard box.
The hosts were happy to soak up pressure from Halfifax in the closing stages, and Town struggled to create a clear cut chance in the final quarter of an hour, with the home defence never worried by the series of high balls forward offered by a frustrated looking Shaymen side, who were backed noisily by 646 travelling fans from West Yorkshire.
Notts County: 1 Sam Slocombe; 3 Damien McCrory; 4 Mitch Rose; 5 Ben Turner (13 Connell Rawlinson 70) 6 Jim O’Brien; 7 Wes Thomas (15 Regan Booty 84); 8 Michael Doyle (C); 11 Enzio Boldewijn; 14 Kyle Wootton; 18 Sam Graham; 20 Richard Brindley
Subs: 28 Ross Fitzsimons; 9 Kristian Dennis; 17 Zoumana Bakayogo
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson; 2 Michael Duckworth; 3 Jerome Binnom-Williams; 4 Nathan Clarke (C), 6 Liam Nolan; 7 Jamie Allen; 10 Cameron King (20 Jeff King 67); 11 Tobi Sho-Silva; 14 Josh Staunton; 15 Liam McAlinden (21 Danny Williams 67); 22 Charlie Cooper
Subs: 8 Jack Earing; 12 Will Appleyard; 16 Jacob Hanson
Goals: Wootton 57
Yellow Cards: Thomas 29, Clarke 35, Brindley 74, Allen 83, Wootton 87, Williams 88
Red Cards: Doyle 47
Attendance: 5188 (646 away)
Full Time: Notts County 1 FC Halifax Town 0
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