Football / Ups and Downs: Drop in status for Shaymen: Niall Edworthy on the 1-0 loss which severed Halifax Town's links with the Football League

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The Independent Online
HALIFAX TOWN became a League club in 1921, but at 4.55pm on Saturday after 72 unspectacular years, that have gone largely unnoticed by the rest of the football world, the shrill sound of the final whistle rang out to signal the end of their League status.

Halifax have always been a modest club and those who do not live in the West Yorkshire town might say that they have a lot to be modest about. They once finished third in the Third Division and in 1980 they were the giant-killers of the FA Cup season when they defeated Manchester City. Beyond that, their appearances in the record books are there for all the wrong reasons.

They still hold the joint record of most goals conceded in a League match for their 13-0 defeat at Stockport County in 1934 when their debutant goalkeeper, Steve Milton, had the type of game that quickly puts an end to any dreams of a rise to international prominence.

So after a life of mixing it with the Doncasters, the Darlingtons and the Scunthorpes they face a future of mixing it with the Wittons, the Marines and the Ketterings in the GM Vauxhall Conference, which would at least give them a chance of avenging Cup defeats inflicted on them by those clubs since 1989.

But even that bleak future is now in doubt. A board meeting at 'The Shay' to discuss the impending loss of revenue that comes with a loss of League status, might well conclude that there is no longer a life for the club outside of the League, as financial realities bag more of the vote than nostalgia and romance.

On Saturday almost 8,000 supporters from all over the Pennines arrived in the hope that the 'Shaymen' would beat Hereford United and Northampton Town would lose at Shrewsbury Town. For a while, the unlikely looked possible. Northampton went two goals down and Halifax would certainly have taken the lead but for a bumpy goalmouth and some diabolic finishing.

It was the biggest crowd anyone could remember since 36,885 turned up to see the club lose to Tottenham Hotspur in the 1953 FA Cup. They lost out to a goal by their former player, Derek Hall, but the news of Northampton Town's victory at Gay Meadow in the end rendered the events at The Shay irrelevant.

After that, it was all cheers for the past, tears for the present and fears for the future.

Goal: Hall (62) 0-1.

Halifax Town: L Bracey; D German (Greenwood, 63), B Barr, J Hardy, C Lucketti, R Bradley, J Peake, D Ridings, K Megson, J Patterson, P Craven. Substitute not used: D Christie.

Hereford United: H Judge; G Downs, C Anderson, G Davies, G Abrahms, D Morris, D Hall, O Pickard, D Robotham, R Jones, M Nicolson. Substitutes not used: M Cross, D Chitterton.

Referee: J Winter (Middlesbrough).

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