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Football: Derby game ends in uproar at Rochdale

Rochdale 1 Halifax 0

TUNNEL turmoil has been all the rage lately but the players and officials of Rochdale and Halifax did not even wait that long before venting their feelings following yesterday's derby match at Spotland.

Barely had the referee, Paul Rejer, blown his final whistle than the post-match handshakes were swiftly turning into scuffles between players after which the home team's manager, Graham Barrow, and visiting the coach, Andy May, joined a heated debate.

May, who had strode on to the pitch to separate two of his players, Mark Sertori and substitute Jon Brown, said : "I was trying to diffuse the situation. All I was doing was making sure our players got safely off the pitch."

Had the incident been witnessed by Kieran O'Regan, the Halifax manager, who was already back in the dressing-room, he might have revised his opinion that "Rochdale clearly wanted to win more than we did".

The hosts, who are in fear of a Halifax-style fall to the Conference, base their game on massive clearances, long-range shots and the odd weaving run from their Spanish winger Isidro Diaz. Yesterday, at least, those tactics were hugely effective as Halifax, wrongly perhaps in the gusty conditions, stuck to their principles of playing football.

Halifax could certainly have done with Geoff Horsfield's gusto up front, but the striker who scored 30 goals in the Conference last season, has now joined Fulham for a club record pounds 300,000. With more of Jamie Paterson's marksmanship from last week when he scored twice, Halifax might yet have gained the victory that would have put them top.

The only goal came on the stroke of half-time when Mark Williams thundered in his first goal for Rochdale with a low free-kick. When it came to football, Halifax were streets ahead but that, sadly for them, was not enough this time

Goal: Williams (45) 1-0.

Rochdale (4-4-2): Edwards; Williams, Hill, Johnson, Barlow; Diaz, Jones, Bryson, Peake; Lancashire (Leonard, 86), Painter. Substitutes not used: Sparrow, Bailey.

Halifax (3-5-2): Martin; Sertori, Murphy, Stoneman; Thackeray, Butler, Lucas, Paterson, Bradshaw; Hulme (Brown, 54), Williams. Substitutes not used: Carter, S Murphy.

Referee: P Rejer (Leamington Spa).

Bookings: Rochdale: Diaz. Halifax: Murphy.

Attendance: 3,628.

Man of the match: Jones.