It was a thrilling afternoon in Cleckheaton yesterday; but when the dust had settled, it was NCEL Premier Division side Liversedge who advanced to the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Vase after edging past Hallam after extra time. It was tough on the Countrymen-and our own Frazer Turner was there to capture the action for the Hallam FC Website
FA Vase First Round Qualifying. Liversedge FC v Hallam FC at the Clayborn Ground Attendance 96
Hallam line up: - Leverton, Tootle, Bradley, Lawrence, McCarthy, Lannaman, Fewkes, Reed(c), Stokes, Bishop, Smith
With the rain pouring down the Countrymen made the short trip north to face NCEL Premier side Liversedge in the FA Vase, but thankfully the rain had stopped, and the sun was out as the teams kicked off with- as always- a great following for Hallam.
After ten minutes of play the home side had seen most of the ball but had not caused Hallam many problems; 12 minutes in and the Countrymen had their first real chance with a corner which unfortunately led to nothing.
On 20 minutes Hallam had really come into the game and Bishop forced the home side’s keeper , Josh Lill, into a good save. On 35 minutes Liversedge hit Hallam on the counterattack when they break down the wing and whipped a cross in only for it to be headed against the woodwork. The rest of the half became a scrappy affair with neither team creating much. Half-time 0-0.
The second half began and both managers must have had strong words during the break as the standard of football improved and both teams seemed fully committed with some good strong tackles and players being more composed when in possession of the ball; however, it wasn’t until the 75th minute that the first big chance came Hallam’s way when Jack McCarthy is brought down in the 18 yard box resulting in a penalty. Sam Smith stepped up to take the spot kick but unfortunately the ‘keeper saved diving down to his right.
On 89 minutes and with the Countrymen now well on top the home side went down to 10 men for ten minutes (sinbin).
Full time and the score was 0-0 going into Extra time.
Into extra time and shortly after the restart Hallam were down to 10 men for 10 minutes as Julian Lawrence was sent to the sin bin for dissent. The visitors were well on top but against the run of play The Sedge scored to put the host ahead. 1-0.
Straight from the resulting kick off Hallam kept the pressure up and from a cross which the hosts couldn’t clear properly Sam Smith scored with an acrobatic effort. HT in Extra Time 1-1.
Into the final 15 minutes of extra time and both sides pushed for the winner to save the game going to a replay, but it’s the home side that took their chance and scored with minutes remaining on the clock. FT ET 2-1.
A great effort by Stephen Whitehead’s side against a team in a higher league and the boys can walk away with their heads held high.
“Up the Countrymen”.
Frazer Turner was writing for the Hallam FC Website
After the game, Hallam Manager Stephen Whitehead gave his reaction to Hallam FC Website writers Ian Jones and Glenn Poulton. He also looked forward to Tuesday night’s home clash with Retford and reflected on that serious injury to goalkeeper Archie Sneath.
Stephen, it's another story of what might have been. For two hours there was desperately little between your players and one of the form teams in the Premier Division. Assess the game for us.
If I’m honest, I’m sick of hearing it now -from 2 sides in the League above and others that will be up there -is them saying “you didn’t deserve that; you were the better team and you deserved more from the game” In all honesty ,you don’t get anything if you miss the chances you make- and we created loads on Saturday. No one means to miss a penalty but there are ones, under those circumstances, that must be buried.
All in all, I’m happy with the team performance; just not with the results We need to start turning these good performances into wins.
You said before the game that this was almost a "free hit " for your side. That said, you came so close to a win. What pleased you most about your performance today?
The chances that we are creating. I would be really concerned if we weren’t getting in good areas. Some of the football that opened Liversedge up on Saturday was really pleasing on the eye. The lads are moving the ball well and it’s only a matter of time until the chances are converted.
It's Retford at Sandygate on Tuesday and it's an early opportunity to avenge that loss at the Rail a couple of weeks ago. What should we look out for from the visitors?
A chance, yes; but credit where it’s due. Retford have some very good players and the game won’t be easy. Don’t get me wrong; we weren’t at full strength when we went there with some of our big players missing. All being well they will be available Tuesday. Again, a really soft penalty -that the ref couldn’t wait to give which even their players said wasn’t a pen -and a hatful of missed chances on our behalf was the difference on the day.
Finally, Archie Sneath's injury was a cruel blow for the lad and the club. Have you spoken to the player and do you have a message for the supporters.
I’ve been in touch with Archie ever since the injury as have Mr & Mrs Chairman. Archie unfortunately has a long road to recovery which the club and me will support every step of the way. The insurance that the club provides at this level is top class and has already been put in place. He will be a massive miss for us this season; his leg has been pinned in an operation last week so it can heal but will need another operation once it has healed because the break was so bad.
We look forward to getting him back fit and seeing him in a Hallam shirt in the future.
Steven Whitehead was talking to the Hallam FC Website