Halifax hit new low in Cup exit

All of the GM Vauxhall Conference sides involved in FA Cup action this past week managed to avoid defeat - except for Halifax Town, who were hammered 4-1 at home by Bishop Auckland last Saturday.

That thrashing by the UniBond League side was the worst result of what has been a difficult season for the former Football League club. They have struggled to stay above the Conference relegation zone, Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Macclesfield left Halifax with just four teams beneath them.

John Carroll, the former Runcorn manager in his first full season in charge at The Shay, has brought in several experienced players, especially in attack. Jason Beckford, once of Manchester City, arrived this week to compete with the summer signings Bobby Davison, the former Derby and Leeds striker who has returned to Halifax after a 16-year absence, and Mike Norbury (ex-Doncaster and Preston) for a front-line place.

At least the future looks brighter off the pitch. Next season the rugby league side, Halifax Blue Sox, are due to move in to The Shay, which will be renamed the Calderdale Sports Stadium as part of a three-stage redevelopment plan to be funded in part by the local council. The first stage, due for completion before the end of the season, will raise capacity to 11,834, with 4,053 seats.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Stevenage, the Conference leaders, were held to a 1-1 home draw by Baldock, of the Dr Martens League, last Saturday but gained a 2-1 success in Wednesday's replay, thanks to a last-minute winner by Peter Sodje. The only Conference side as yet unable to overcome lower-level opponents are Hayes, who face a second replay against Grays, of the Icis League, on Monday.

Durham City have been expelled from the FA Cup after it was revealed that, in last weekend's 1-1 draw against Consett, they fielded a player who had appeared for South Shields in the preliminary round. Consett now travel to play Halifax's conquerors, Bishop Auckland, on 12 October.