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Hallam Continue Play Off Push
Posted 17th April 2016 - Posted in Match Reports
With a play off spot in the team’s hands, Hallam really needed to get off to a flyer in this first of four games in 8 days, and didn’t they just?
The night before, it had looked pretty unlikely that the game would take place at all – the rain was pelting it down and the forecast was set nasty. In the end though, there wasn’t much snow overnight and the sun decided to shine on the Countrymen’s promotion push in more ways than one.
After a tight start was Knaresborough who made the first proper chance after 15 minutes – the ball rolling to the far post after a decent save by Dennison, with Bishop pulling off a brilliant block to stop a tap in.
But it didn’t take long for Knaresborough to get themselves in front, a midfield cross slightly fortunately deflecting in behind the Hallam defence – but there was nothing fortunate about Atkinson’s calm finish.
The game stayed pretty even and it looked like it might take a while for Hallam to work their way level – but it wasn’t too long before a foul on Reed in the box gave Brammer the chance to send the lanky ‘keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
That seemed to remind Hallam how to take their chances at Sandygate and on the half hour they went ahead, Bishop overlapping well down the left and centring to the near post where Lipka swept it beautifully into the top corner.
Both sides had a couple more chances before half-time. For Hallam, Reed got onto a great through ball from Simpson but his shot was parried just behind Phillips and another great Simpson ball from a free-kick was glanced onto the post by Blythen.
Between those Dennison had to be really brave to claw out what looked like a certain Knaresborough goal from short range, and just as well to keep out a chance from the resulting corner. The half ended with Knaresborough having a second ruled out for offside.
For once it wasn’t a game of two halves – the second was just as good as the first. Again there was a cagey start, but the touch paper was lit again by (yet another) good ball over the top from Simpson, which Blythen lifted neatly over the keeper, 3-1.
With Pemberton coming on for Phillips, who was in danger of getting a second yellow as the tension built, Hallam looked to but in control, but Knaresborough weren’t done – Lancaster pulling one back following a decent break not long after the hour.
And Knaresborough kept on pressing, being particularly unlucky to see the ball bounce off the bar down onto the line. Any fears it would be backs to the wall after that though were allayed by a break of Hallam’s own on 75 minutes – Blythen with the outside of his foot finding Reed on the edge of the area who curled one in off the keeper’s fingertips, 4-2.
After that, while the game stayed lively (both on and off the pitch, where the Knaresborough manager was sent to the stand for barracking the ref) Hallam saw it out well.
Three more games to go then, and if Hallam keep this up they’ll have a decent chance of heading into the play offs as a form team.
Hallam FC man of the match; James Reed