Photos by Daniel Golton
A brilliant solo effort from Joe Knott proved decisive in a rather dull Halifax derby at the new JLD.
With the Halifax 1sts playing straight after and a number of players having already gone home, both sides found bodies hard to come by. In fact, 2nds captain Joe Plant had to make do with ten players, three of which were described as “unknown freshers” by Plant ahead of the game.
As a result of these pre-match complications regarding which players would play for whom (Elliott was transferred from the 3rds to the 2nds about five minutes before kick-off), both teams struggled to settle into the game. In the opening exchanges, the only real sights of goal fell the 3rds’ way with a blocked Chris Forrest volley and a Stefan Griffiths free-kick which sailed over the bar.
Oli Bull then headed wide from a corner for the 2nds, before Charlie Dunning drilled an effort wide of goal from the edge of the area. The best chance of the half fell the latter’s way when he lashed a volley towards goal, only for it to bounce off the top of the bar.
Despite the poor quality of the first half, the second was arguably worse. The elusive first goal looked to have arrived when 2nds striker Joe Knott collected the ball and launched a volley which agonisingly clipped the outside of the post and bobbled to safety.
The game would need a moment of quality if it was to avoid the anguish of a penalty shootout, and it came about ten minutes from time when Joe Knott controlled the ball on the right channel, expertly flicked it past the final 3rds defender, before smashing a half-volley which flew past ‘keeper Maalouf at the near post.
Having been ineffective going forward for the entire game, Halifax 3rds never looked like mounting a meaningful attack to bring the scores level in the final stages. Ultimately, the final whistle proved a relief for both spectators and players, especially the ten men representing the 2nds.
After the game, 2nds captain Joe Plant told Vision he was particularly delighted to win the Plate given the difficult circumstances he was faced with: “considering we had ten players the whole game and we obviously had to move it around a bit with the 1sts playing with our centre-back pairing, I’m over the moon”.
Plant also gave an honest review of his side’s style of play, admitting their substance over style approach to the tournament: “I think most of our games have been scrappy affairs, going through against Vanbrugh 1sts with a smash-and-grab at the end, similar again today”.
Plant finally told us that he was confident that Halifax 2nds would be able to hold the Plate in 2015.
Vision Man of the Match: Joe Knott (Halifax 2nds).
Halifax 2nds Starting X (4-4-1): Goldthorpe; Powell, Plant (c), Bull, Elliott; Dunning, Kendrick-Brajou, De Guzman, Lad In Adidas Shirt; Knott.
Goal Scorers: Knott.
Halifax 3rds Starting XI (4-5-1): Maalouf; McTaggert, Denny, Wrillstone, Chasteauneuf; Percy, Forrest, Kershaw, Griffiths, Garrett; Stansfield (c).