Conference National Playoff Final 2006


Conference National Playoff Final 2006

The 2005-06 Conference National Playoff Final took place on 20 May 2006 and was contested between Halifax Town and Hereford United. It was held at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester for the first time, the previous Playoff Finals having been held at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/leicester_city/4826880.stm Leicester to stage play-off final] BBC Sport, 21 March 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.]

Halifax went into the match having finished fourth in the 2005-06 Conference National with 75 points. They defeated Grays Athletic 5-4 on aggregate in the Semi Final. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/may/11/newsstory.sport3 Halifax hail Foster's double] The Guardian, 11 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.] Hereford went into the match having finished second for the third year in succession with 80 points. They had defeated Morecambe 4-3 on aggregate in the Semi Final, although the second leg needed extra time to be decided. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/4973034.stm Hereford 3-2 Morecambe (4-3 agg)] BBC Sport, 11 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006]

Over 15,000 spectators attended the match, of which approximately 10,000 were Hereford fans. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/may/22/newsstory.hereford Hereford United 3-2 Halifax Town] The Guardian, 22 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.] The match was televised live by Sky and summarisers generally agreed that it was probably the best Conference Playoff Final to dateFact|date=February 2008.

Match summary

As early as the 6th minute there was controversy as Hereford captain Tamika Mkandawire handled the ball in his own penalty area, but the offence was not spotted by referee Dean Whitestone. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/halifax-town-2-hereford-utd-3-hail-hereford-greens-art-gives-turner-prize-of-league-return-479061.html Green's art gives Turner prize of League return] The Independent, 21 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.] Both teams had shots on target in the first 25 minutes before Halifax took the lead. Hereford had briefly been reduced to 10 men while Rob Purdie received treatment for a cut lip. While he was being treated, Greg Young's cross was not properly cleared and a lucky ricochet fell to Lewis Killeen, who curled a shot into the top corner from outside the area.

Hereford equalised seven minutes later when Mkandawire won possession and found Adam Stansfield on the right wing, before continuing on a decoy run into the Halifax box. Stansfield's cross evaded the Halifax defence and found Andy Williams at the back post, who scored with a diving header. The first half ended with the run of play fairly equal, with Halifax making the better start to the match and Hereford responding after going a goal down.

The second half saw more of the same with both sides having the upper hand at different stages. In the 57th minute Purdie made a run into the Halifax penalty area, and was brought down by Tyrone Thompson. This time the referee had a better view, but again did not give what seemed to be a penalty. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/halifax-town-2-hereford-utd-3-hail-hereford-greens-art-gives-turner-prize-of-league-return-479061.html Green's art gives Turner prize of League return] The Independent, 21 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.] It was not until after Halifax brought on John Grant that the deadlock was broken. After a spell of Hereford pressure, with Stansfield in particular having a couple of good chances, Killeen went on a surging run into the Hereford area before crossing to Grant who flicked the ball into the net.

Hereford responded by bringing on Guy Ipoua who equally made an impact on the game. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/may/22/newsstory.hereford Hereford United 3-2 Halifax Town] The Guardian, 22 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.] He controlled a flick on by Andy Ferrell, before playing the ball out to Simon Travis on the right. Travis' cross was powerfully headed in by Ipoua, who was unmarked. Neither team had a clear cut chance in the remaining ten minutes and the match went to extra time. By this stage Chris Wilder had used all his substitutions, while Graham Turner still had two available.

Minutes into extra time, Halifax had a goal disallowed for offside and the tempo of the match slowed down as players tired. Then in the 109th minute of the match Hereford won a throw in. Substitute Stuart Fleetwood received the ball from Ryan Green but was tackled. The ball ran loose to Green who deftly clipped the ball into the far corner of the goal with his left foot. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/halifax-town-2-hereford-utd-3-hail-hereford-greens-art-gives-turner-prize-of-league-return-479061.html Green's art gives Turner prize of League return] The Independent, 21 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.] With eleven minutes to go it looked as if Hereford had done enough for victory. However the drama was not over as Hereford goalkeeper Wayne Brown received a head injury after going for a ball. With all substitutions now made it looked at one stage as though Hereford would need an emergency goalkeeper, and midfielder Ferrell even had a spare goalkeeper's jersey on for a moment. But, after several minutes, Brown recovered and play resumed although there was six minutes of stoppage time added on. Halifax tried everything to equalise, putting centre-back Adam Quinn up front who had a shot destined for the top corner well saved by Brown.

Ultimately though it was Hereford who hung on to win the match, and they regained their Football League status after nine years in the Conference.

Match details

footballbox
date=2006-05-20
time=15:00 BST
team1=Halifax Town
score=2 – 3
report=
team2=Hereford United
goals1=Killeen goal|27
Grant goal|73
goals2=Williams goal|34
Ipoua goal|80
Green goal|109
stadium=Walkers Stadium, Leicester
attendance=15,499
referee=Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

References


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