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United slip to narrow home defeat to Halifax - full report

Former FC United full-back Simon Garner came back to haunt the Reds as he scored the only goal of the game for league leaders Halifax Town in front of the 750 travelling Shaymen and the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s highest crowd of the season of 2,805.

Despite a good performance by FC United, Garner’s second half header was enough to defeat the Reds who were playing only their fourth league game in more than two months following their fantastic FA Cup run which took them to the brink of the third round.

United were far from outclassed and it was fair to say that they deserved a point against the league’s standout side but as with the match against Northwich Victoria four weeks ago, the Reds lost out to the solitary goal.

It was the visiting team who began the game brighter with Jamie Vardy getting the first of many chances during the afternoon as he found some free space before blasting the ball high over Sam Ashton’s crossbar.

The game was a real ebb and flow affair but Halifax had the best chance of the first half as striker James Deaner got onto a through ball and forced a great save out of United Ashton, before Tom Baker fired a shot from outside of the box which hit the base of the United post.

United also looked dangerous going forward with Carlos Roca and the returning Jerome Wright providing the main threats from the flanks. Roca broke into the box and played in Matthew Wolfenden, in for the suspended Ben Deegan, who beat Halifax ‘keeper Jonathon Hedge but saw his effort go wide of the post denying him his first goal in the Red shirt.

Wolfenden again had another good chance just before half-time as United broke well on the counter attack but again he saw his effort go just wide.

In the second half United attacked the Manchester Road End, which was bouncing again, and took the game to the visitors. From the off United came forward and signalled their intent as Roca fired into the side netting with only seconds on the board.

But the visitors broke the deadlock as a ball from the left was met by the head of Garner who diverted the ball past Ashton to give the league leaders the advantage.

United pressed and pressed throughout the second half and up until the last ten minutes the goal was the only chance a retreating Halifax had managed to provide.

Chances came for United, with Roca firing wide after some nifty footwork and Jake Cottrell shooting just wide from 20 yards out. Wolfenden saw a shot hacked off the line by a defender after beating the keeper and the younger striker did have the ball in the back of the net soon afterwards but the referee had already blown for offside. Try as they might, United just couldn’t get the vital goal to get back into the game.

The last ten minutes resembled a cup tie with United throwing centre-back Martin Parker up front to provide some aerial prowess to help with the attack but obviously this left gaps which the visiting team used the counter attack to expose.

Both teams went close, with Nathan Taylor hitting the bar after his lob beat Ashton, and Ashton pulled out some great one-on-one saves to deny Vardy on several opportunities. United kept coming forward right until the end but it was not to be, as they went down to a good and resilient team who clearly deserve their position at the summit of the division.

The Reds will take heart from this performance knowing they gave the league leaders a good game and will no doubt have left the field feeling a little disappointed to come away without a point, a sure sign that there are more positives to come from this extraordinary season.

Report by Craig Phillips


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First Posted ~ 14:58 Sun 12 Dec 2010
News ID ~ 3293
Last Updated ~ 14:58 Sun 12 Dec 2010