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Halifax Town

Halifax Town

Slough Town

Slough Town

League Attendance: 2098 Ben Miles
Centre Half Cliff Hercules was sent off as Slough Town were narrowly beaten by top of the table Halifax Town at the Shay on Saturday. The West Yorkshire side looked every bit a top of the table side, but Slough had their fair share of chances, even after the second half dismissal of Hercules, to have snatched a draw.

Certainly there were enough positive points to draw upon in readiness for the rematch on Saturday, and the Rebels can go into Saturday's FA Umbro Trophy clash on the same ground with nothing to fear.

Slough had to soak up a lot of early pressure from a well-drilled Halifax side, but the visitors launched the first meaningful attack when Gary Brazil forced an early corner. Bolt swung it in dangerously from the left, the Halifax defence cleared only as far as Brazil, but his return ball was plucked from the air under pressure by keeper Lee Martin.

The Shaymen, cheered on by a large and intimidating home crowd, then took control for a lengthy period. Ben Miles, standing in for the suspended Paul Wilkerson, had to be very brave to smother Dave Hanson's cross at the feet of the league's top scorer Geoff Horsfield.
Miles was again called into action when he took the ball from Hanson's head as the home side continued to step up the pressure, and on 16 minutes Halifax captain Kevin Hulme missed a gilt-edged chance as he skewed wide with a clear sight of goal. Minutes later the woodwork came to Slough's rescue, as Jamie Patterson's deep cross was met by Andy Thackery, whose header rebounded off the underside of the bar and away.

It was 27 goal man Horsfield who eventually gave Halifax the lead. He managed to shrug off two challenges before breaking into the box. Miles stood up well and pulled off a terrific save from Horsfield's first effort, but the rebound fell kindly for the Halifax striker who made no mistake and fired into the unguarded net.
It could have been 2-0 six minutes before the break, when Terry Angus scrambled Hanson's close range effort away.

And right on half-time Slough deserved to be level, when Martin spilled what should have been a simple catch and Corey Browne snapped up the loose ball, but his cross to the far post was cleared off the line as Mark West homed in.

Slough started the second half in tremendous style and were unlucky not to have pulled the game level. First` Brazil hit a first-time shot from 25 yards just inches wide, and then Danny Bolt dragged his effort across the face of the goal with Martin scrambling to reach it.

And the Rebels continued to hold the upper hand in terms of possession and territorial advantage until the real turning point of the game. Referee Mr Webster had booked a rash of players in the first half, including Cliff Hercules for an innocuous looking challenge. When Hercules was pulled up again in the 67th minute for pulling Horsfield back as he broke away, it brought the defender a second card and he had to go. A man short and a goal down against the leaders, life was never going to be easy, but Slough kept on battling and defending with their familiar resilience.

The woodwork again saved them when a 30-yard piledriver from Mark Bradshaw came back off the bar in the 73rd, and Joe Brown' shot at the death went the same way.

The sending-off could have ended this game as a contest, but to Slough's credit it didn't. Halifax's home record is still intact, but the side looked by no means invincible, and that record can be brought to an end in 'part two' in the Trophy.

Halifax Town Lineup


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