On the back of last week’s 4-2 away defeat at the hands of Manchester United, AFC manager John Barker demanded a better performance from his men against the visitors from over the border and league friendly opponents Preston North-End.
Sky sources advised us that gaffer John Barker prepared for this fixture with a ‘Silent Night’ to himself on the Friday whilst working out a strategy to try and overcome The Lillywhites from Lancashire. It was reported he had changed the team on numerous occasions before finally ‘Joy to the World’ he whispered to himself, his team was picked and ready for action.
He decided to give the nod to the veteran ginger known as Stewart ‘Flobbins’ Heaton who had the job between the sticks, lined up at the back with a central 3 of Matthew ‘Rat’ Blackburn, Adam ‘G-Nev’ Probets, Lee ‘2 hours sleep’ Casalino with wingbacks of Marcus ‘Fat Dave’ Stapeley and Adrian ‘Freeloader’ Hollands. Across the middle of the park we saw Ben ‘Mr Fox’ Fawkes, Andy ‘Tramp’ Littlefair, Nathan ‘Rip off my grandad’ Wright with a front 2 of Lewis ‘Youngster & AFC future’ Blackburn & Adam ‘I don’t need to move’ Ramsden who were reportedly seen and heard doing his own rendition of Mariah Carey’s favourite ‘All I want for Christmas’ in the warm up prior to kick off.
In the 17th minute of the match, AFC Halifax were looking reasonably comfortable against a very organised Preston North-End side until a reckless challenge in the area from who else but Adrian ‘Freeloader’ Hollands. Despite frustration from his team mates the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Preston were 1-0 to the good. Almost as if the AFC shot stopper was ‘Away in a manger’ before attempted the keep out the driven shot from the spot. An outrageous celebration followed by the Preston striker as he ran to the corner and displayed the actions as if he was singing Chris Rea’s 80’s classic ‘Driving home for Christmas’. It has to be said, a ridiculous spectacle.
With the score line locked at 1-0 to the visitors it could have very easily been 2-0 but for a heroic defensive header at the back post by Adam ‘G Nev’ Probets who in turn ended up with a sore finger. The referee advised John Barker to take Probets off who ignored this request and somehow, perhaps with ‘The power of love’ Probets was ok and continued for the duration of the fixture.
AFC Halifax however did go in at the break 3-0 down after Preston created and converted further chances prior to the half time whistle. John Barker had identified that the man in the middle for Preston was running the show and gave instructions to break the ‘Little Donkey’ if that would stop him dominating the game.
Substitutions were inevitable for the Shaymen and Luke ‘Bones’ Prosser was one of the men to come into the fray at half time who got AFC Halifax back into the game. Prosser was through 1 on 1 with the Preston fullback who had no option but to bring down the pacey Prosser in the 59th minute of the game. Prosser really enjoyed it and in fact enjoyed it that much, he was known to have told the unfortunate fullback that he will be ‘Lonely this Christmas’ with an attitude like that. ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ he responded? Nobody really knew what he meant by this? Perhaps it was his tourette’s? Anyway, AFC reduced the deficit to 3-1 with what some would say… a very dodgy penalty by Ben ‘Mr Fox’ Fawkes. Nevertheless, AFC were back in business.
Unfortunately for the hosts though this was not a turning point and Preston went on to punish defensive mistakes to take the game by a very healthy 6 goals to 1.
Final score in front of a packed house –
AFC Halifax 1-6 Preston North-End. The Lillywhites destroyed the Shaymen. You have to ask yourself, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ or what? Very harsh lesson.
Attendance – 109.
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