Sunday, January 22, 2017
FC Halifax Town 4-2 Salford City
My mood is still buoyant on Sunday morning. I'm buzzing. I wine and dine Ms Moon at the Staunton Arms out in the Vale of Belvoir. We bump into White Van Man, who is on full power as he ploughs his way through a sea of Yorkshire puddings piled up high on his plate. He's been sunning himself in Tenerife, where we're due to go in a few weeks' time.
Me 'n Murphy the budgie huddle around the laptop waiting patiently for the FA Cup draw on Monday evening, whilst Ms Moon watches Amos Brearly change a barrel of Watney's in the cellar at the Woolpack Inn. Murphy asks me if I can get him a ticket for Sincil Bank if Lincoln pull Norwich out of the hat - "sorry son, you'll have to use the floodlight pylons as a perch, and we won't be talking all week before the game either." Murphy needn't fret, Brighton at home it is, providing we win the replay.
12th January is a sad day as Paul Hawksbee announces on his show the passing of Graham Taylor, Lincoln's greatest ever manager. It's the reason why I love football, because of the team he built with buttons in 1975. What a send-off we'll give him at Sincil Bank next Tuesday.
We're due up at Thackley FC in Bradford on Jan 14th to watch NCEL leaders Cleethorpes Town. The game is frozen off. I'm very kindly invited for a second viewing of Notts County. There's a new sheriff in town; his name is Alan Hardy. He became the owner earlier in the week following some last minute takeover hitches. There's a feel-good factor about the place and a buzz in the air as I take my seat to watch a local derby versus Mansfield Town. Over 11,000 rock up at 'the Lane' and see a battling display from the Pies. It stops the rot of a club record ten consecutive defeats. It will feel like a win.
Ms Moon meets me outside the black wrought iron gates at the Meadow Lane main entrance, before whisking me up to York for the evening. I down a real ale in the Blue Bell on Fossgate. We enjoy evening dinner with my brother and sister-in-law at the delightful Italian restaurant Il Paridiso Del Cibo da Paolo, which comes highly recommended.
It's Tuesday afternoon and I've taken the afternoon off work. I drive up to Rainworth, a village in north Notts, where the murderer Donald Nielsen aka the Black Panther was overpowered by a group of coal miners outside the local chippy after taking two policemen hostage, having just robbed a post office in 1975.
It's flipping freezing up here as I watch Mansfield Town and Notts County Under 23s play in a Central League cup fixture. The Stags beat the Pies 2-1. I blast out the car heating as I hurtle down the A46 towards Lincoln. It's the club's biggest game in 40 years.
I park up near to my dear, late Nana's house, before heading up the High Street into town. I guzzle down a pint of Samuel Smiths at £1.90 a pint in the Widow Cullens Well, at the top of Steep Hill. I thaw out in front of a roaring log fire before making the reverse journey. It's an Al Fresco chippy tea before collecting my ticket and taking my seat behind the goal opposite the Stacey West Stand - named after two supporters who tragically lost their lives in the 'Bradford Fire Disaster' in 1985.
Lincoln are superb again, despite Ipswich bringing in their big guns such as: Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Jonathan Douglas and Leon Best. The ending is incredible. On the counterattack, substitute Adam Marriott plays the ball through the eye of a needle to Nathan Arnold who rounds the keeper before slotting the ball home into an empty net. I apologise to a steward for hugging and kissing him - how was I suppose to know he supported Manchester United.
It's Saturday morning. Ms Moon and I are due a decent day out oop North. Halifax v Salford is the game of the day in the National League North. Sat Nav predictably takes us off the M1 and onto the A616, bypassing the Pennine town of Stocksbridge, where not only Jamie Vardy once plied his trade, but also Brentford's Scott Hogan, who is rumoured to be the subject of a £10 million bid from West Ham United.
There's the chance of a Good Pub Guide tick-off up at the Old Bridge in Ripponden. We walk over the medieval packhorse bridge, which the River Ryburn flows under. The pub has thick stone walls and antique oak tables. I have a pint of Riwaka from Roosters Brewery up in Knaresborough. We both choose homemade vegetable soup and a beef sandwich. It takes an age to arrive - Sticky P ain't a happy bunny. I settle up the bill, without a tip.
The Shay is only 15 minutes away. We park in a leisure centre and wander down Hunger Hill towards the ground. It's £16 each on the gate and £3 for an excellent programme, which is full of content. Halifax is a minster town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. It has a population of over 80,000 and is well known for its Mackintosh's chocolate and toffee products including Rolo and Quality Street. Eureka! The National Children's Museum, was opened by Prince Charles in 1992. The Halifax Building Society was also founded in the town.
Notable Haligonians include: Thompson Twins singer Tom Bailey, John Christie the murderer from 10 Rillington Place, Paralympics Gold medalist Hannah Cockcroft, the wrestler Big Daddy, Arthur Ellis who was famous for his dipstick in the gameshow It's a Knockout, footballers Paddy Kenny and Frank Worthington, Yorkshire CCC player Alex Lees, the controversial Judge Pickles and singer Ed Sheeran.
FC Halifax Town was founded in 2008. They replaced Halifax Town AFC who went into administration. The oldest player to represent the club is former Tricky Tree striker Nigel Jemson who was aged 39. Striker Lee Gregory - who I often eulogise about on here from his Staveley Miners' Welfare days - holds the record for League goals for The Shaymen. He left the club for Millwall in 2014 for £250,000.
Calderdale Borough Council have proper spruced the place up, since my last visit with blog legend Trumpy Bolton back in the 80s, when a Terry McPhillips goal was enough to see off the Minstermen of York.
Compo, Cleggy and Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine are sat in the row behind us. They are Calderdale and West Yorkshire's moaning champions. The referee is told to 'get your hair from out of your eyes', after a blatant free kick is missed (the ref is as bald as a coot)
It's a lively start by both teams, but it's the visitors who begin to get a stranglehold on the game. They're 2-0 up at the break and coasting. Ms Moon has fetched some coffee that can only be described as dirty dishwater. Come on FC Halifax, you're a great club, but sort the coffee out - nobody drinks Mellow Birds these days .... lol.
I get gassing to Compo and the lads. I remark it's next goal the winner. They're still roaring with laughter when the Shaymen restore parity with two goals in two minutes, the second goal is worth the gate money alone.
Salford joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley will be seething with a crazy 20-minute spell. I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in the Salford dressing room as the referee blows the final whistle.
We really can't arf pick em.
Man of the Match: Matty Kosylo