Returning Halifax rocked by late Alcuin strike


Images: Philippa Grafton and Petroc Taylor

A late goal from Andy Fernando condemned Halifax to a shock defeat in their first college football match of the year on the 3G Pitch this morning.

Fernando’s late winner came after a bizarre equaliser from Alcuin goalkeeper David Marshall had cancelled out Connor Meckin’s opener.

In windy conditions at the Sports Village, much was expected of Halifax on their return to college football after last term’s ban. But the match began with both teams looking understandably rusty. A couple of tame efforts from Meckin and Elliot Ragan were the only notable incidents of the opening 20 minutes.

Alcuin’s first opening came after Henry Collins was caught in possession inside his own half, but striker Danny Matthews was unable to get a clean shot away.

Hamish Denham then had his first chance, heading over from a Kieran Gennoy corner, before the big frontman turned provider for Halifax’s opener. Cutting Alcuin apart through the middle, Denham slipped in Meckin to slide a shot into the corner for 1-0.

Rather than crumbling though, Alcuin hit back and began to gain a foothold in the match. Their best chance fell the way of Graham Kimber, but he could only fire wide after the ball dropped kindly to him in the box.

Fernando then had a goal-bound effort blocked by Mark Howarth, and Greg Fearn’s well-struck effort from the edge of the area was saved by Harry Ziegler before the break.

Shortly after the restart Kimber thought he had levelled the scores with a piledriver from the edge of the box which struck the inside of the post and bounced out, but they wouldn’t have to wait long for an equaliser from the most unlikely of sources.

A long goal-kick from David Marshall was caught by the wind, carrying it far down the other end of the pitch; deceived by the bounce, his Halifax counterpart Ziegler watched the ball loop over him and roll into the net, sparking jubilant scenes from the men in red and black.

Marshall was doing his bit at the other end as well, proving a commanding presence in the area and keeping Alcuin dangerous on the counter-attack with his distribution.

Fax tried to hit back, and piled the pressure on with a series of corners, but in truth it was Alcuin who always looked like the most likely winners.

Jacob Burge hit a screamer from 25 yards that Ziegler had to tip over, while Fernando saw a free-kick well-held.

But with 10 minutes to play, they did find a second. Fernando broke into a box to latch onto a pass, turned swiftly onto his right foot and lifted a shot over the advancing keeper.

Halifax attempted to rescue something from the match, but a long-range Guy Bowden effort that found the side-netting was the best they could muster, and had to endure a defeat on their college football return.

Dejected Fax captain Matt Darling told Nouse, “Our second half performance wasn’t good enough, simple as that. First half we kept the ball, but in the second we couldn’t string five passes together and that’s where it all went wrong.”

By contrast, his Alcuin counterpart Chris Boyd was quick to praise his team: “I think we definitely deserved that today. We were really unlucky to go a goal down, and everyone played really well.”

Halifax: Ziegler, Darling (C), Bowden, Howarth, Tringham, Meckin, Gennoy, McCoy, Collins, Ragan, Denham. Subs: Jones, Sample, Henry.

Alcuin: Burge, Nazzicone, Houlgate, Boyd (C), Billimore, Fearn, Simpson, Armstrong, Kimber, Fernando, Matthews. Subs: Harget, Marshall.

Man of the match: Andy Fernando

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