Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United V FC Halifax Town – National League
Date: Saturday 22nd February 2020
Previous NL form (last six):
Torquay United: W – L – D – W – D – L
FC Halifax Town: D – D – W – W – W – W
Last time the two teams met: FA Trophy 2nd Round, Torquay United 1-2 FC Halifax Town – Saturday 11th January 2020
FC Halifax booked their place in the 3rd round of the FA Trophy following a narrow win over Torquay United.
Second half goals from Toby Sho-Silva and Josh Staunton gave the Shaymen a two-goal cushion, before Connor Lemonheigh-Evans struck with a consolation for the Gulls.
United started the game with an attacking intent straight from the kick-off, as United skipper Asa Hall tested Halifax keeper Sam Johnson with a strike from the halfway line, which Johnson gathered comfortably. On 26 minutes, United produced an end-to-end move which saw Lemonheigh-Evans send a threaded pass through to Jamie Reid, but United’s leading scorer scuffed his shot wide.
Two minutes later, a corner from Lemonheigh-Evans picked out Kyle Cameron, who then saw his headed effort turned behind by Johnson. Such was United’s dominance in the opening 45 minutes that the corner count read 10-2 in their favour and the ratio of shots at goal read 10-2 in their favour also.
However, the Gulls were made to pay for not turning that advantage into goals as the Shaymen took the lead – against the run of play – on 54 minutes when Jack Redshaw’s cross was tapped home by Sho-Silva.
United responded positively as debutant Gary Warren saw an overhead kick cleared off the line on the hour mark and then Aaron Nemane had a long range shot deflected wide.
The Shaymen doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Staunton scored with a deflected effort from the edge of the penalty area, after being teed up by Sho-Silva.
Five minutes later, Lemonheigh-Evans pulled a goal back for United after he latched onto a pass from Ben Whitfield, before going on a solo run and cut inside to fire past Johnson. In the final ten minutes, Reid and substitute Jake Andrews were both denied by Johnson as the Shaymen progressed through the next round.
Manager: Peter Wild
Former Oldham Athletic manager Peter Wild took charge of the Shaymen during the close season following the resignation of Jamie Fullarton three weeks before the National League campaign got underway. Under his guidance, Halifax have defied pre-season expectations and have emerged as one of the surprise packages of the 2019-20 National League campaign. A life-long Oldham fan, Wild had two caretaker spells in charge of the Latics; firstly in succession to Frankie Bunn and then Paul Scholes. Following Scholes’ departure, he took over on a permanent basis until the end of the 2018-19 season, before resigning citing ‘personal reasons’.
One to watch: Nathan Clarke
One of the most experienced central defenders in the National League, Nathan Clarke progressed through the youth academy of his hometown club Huddersfield Town and went on to make over 300 appearances for the Terriers between 2001 and 2012. During this time he was part of the Huddersfield side that missed out on third place in Division Three to the Gulls on the final day of the 2003-04 season, but would later win promotion via the play-offs against Mansfield Town.
After leaving the Terriers, he then moved on to Leyton Orient and was part of the Orient side that missed out on promotion to the Championship via the play-offs under Russell Slade in the 2013-14 campaign, where they were beaten by Rotherham United in the final.
Clarke then moved on to Bradford City, Coventry City (where he won the EFL Trophy), Grimsby Town and joined the Shaymen in the summer of 2018 and also having a brief spell as caretaker manager following the resignation of Jamie Fullarton – prior to the arrival of Peter Wild.
Classic Encounter: Division Four, Halifax Town 2 Torquay United 4 – 21st March 1987
Paul Dobson’s late equaliser on the final day of the season against Crewe Alexandra in the extra time added on following Bryn the Police Dog’s bite on Jim McNichol, has been enshrined in Torquay United folklore. However, another goal scoring feat of Dobson’s from the 1986-87 season often gets overlooked, as he netted four times for the Gulls as they came away from the Shay with a 4-2 win that further boosted United’s survival prospects and proved to be important come the end of the season.
Joe Lewis – Robbie Cundy – Kyle Cameron – Jackson Longridge
Kalvin Kalala – Armani Little – Asa Hall – Ben Whitfield
Ade Azeez – Jamie Reid
Michael Duckworth – Nathan Clarke – Josh Staunton
Jeff King – Charlie Cooper – Danny Williams – Cameron King – Jerome Binnom-Williams
Jamie Allen – Jack Redshaw