FC Halifax Town closed the season with a defeat as Woking won 3-2 in dramatic fashion at the Kingfield.
In a match full of drama; three penalties, one red card, endless efforts against the woodwork, the Shaymen will be wondering how they did not win.
Scott McManus began proceedings by heading home within ten minutes and then Josh Payne fired home halfway through first 45 to make in 1-1 at the break. But with Paul Marshall and Danny Schofield both hitting the frame of the goal the score could have been completely different.
If the first half was electrifying, the second half was out of this world. Will Hatfield found the net from the spot within 60 seconds to give Town the lead with the Cards' stopper lucky to stay on the pitch. Woking came fighting back and chance after chance went by, as Matt Glennon performed outstandingly.
The Shaymen were awarded a second penalty after Payne pushed Hatfield to the floor, but this time the midfielder could not convert and Woking saw the opportunity to pounce. Scott Rendell fired home from the spot in the dying minutes, after Hatfield had allegedly blocked a close-range free-kick with his arm.
Then with the last kick of the game Yemi Odubade sent the home crowd wild as he slotted the ball into the net to claim the three points.
Town were the ones who created the first chance of the afternoon. Schofield and Marshall combined in the midfield to find McManus on the left. He cut the ball back and found Danny Hattersley but he could only poke wide from ten yards.
But minutes later and after another good attack the Shaymen took the lead. Kevin Roberts won a corner after good work on the right. Adam Smith sent his delivery to the back-post where Graham Hutchison headed the ball back across goal to McManus. McManus’ last goal was the Shaymen’s first goal of the season at Dover, but the 25-year-old grabbed his second of the campaign as he nodded past Jake Cole.
The home side looked to reply instantaneously as Giuseppe Sole raced through on goal. The forward, who scored a wonderful free-kick at the Shay earlier in the season was played through but could not beat Glennon, as Town’s stopper poked out a foot to tip the ball around the post for his first fantastic save of the afternoon.
Town started to control the early stages and nearly doubled their lead through Marshall. The midfielder eyed up the top-right-corner from 25 yards, but his free-kick was a fraction too high as it clipped off the bar.
Shortly after Marshall’s free-kick attempt the Cards equalised. Josh Goddard charged forward and drifted in off the left-wing and went for goal with his right foot. The shot was heading for the far corner before it was blocked and the ball fell kindly to Payne, who hammered home for his eighth goal of the season.
However, the scores nearly did not stay level for long as Marshall raced through one-on-one with Cole. Hatfield played in Town’s number eight but he could only drag his effort wide from the edge of the box.
After a hectic opening 20 minutes the game simmered down, but not for long as the Shaymen hit the woodwork once again. A mix up between Cole and Mark Ricketts allowed Marshall to set up Schofield. The 35-year-old took his time and fired towards the bottom left corner, but the woodwork denied the former Millwall man and Woking could clear for a corner. From the resulting corner McManus could have grabbed his second of the afternoon. Hatfield sent the ball over and it fell to McManus on the edge of the box, but his right-footed volley whistled over Cole’s bar.
After and electric first half the second started with the same intensity and quickly raced through the gears. The Shaymen re-took the lead within the opening 60 seconds, after Hattersley, who had been a nuisance throughout the first half was brought down by Cole. A red card was expected with Cole being last man, but the referee produced a yellow to the disagreement of the away fans. But the travelling support was soon celebrating, as Hatfield fired the ball into the top left corner from the spot and well away from the reach of Cole.
A real sour note midway through the second half was the injury to Town’s skipper, Marc Roberts. The defender pulled up after heading the ball away and instantly began feeling his hamstring. Although he tried to continue he was forced off and Steve Williams was brought on in his place.
After the Shaymen’s flying start to the second half the Cards began to turn the tide. Several attacks in a row created wonderful chances for the home side. Marshall cleared one effort off the line before Glennon tipped substitute, Manny Oyeleke’s effort around the post.
Glennon was in phenomenal form all afternoon and he was called into action once again. The 36-year-old displayed cat-like reflects to spring to the top corner and push Goddard’s effort onto the bar. Woking just could not find a way through and once again Glennon saved as Kevin Betsy went for glory.
As the game ticked into the final ten minutes the Shaymen were awarded another penalty. Hatfield raced into the box and Payne pushed him to the floor; this time it was red for Woking. Payne was shown his marching orders and Hatfield went looking for the bottom corner. However, Cole redeemed himself for his error for the first penalty to save well.
Woking pushed forward with ten men and this time they found a way past Glennon, but not passed the woodwork. Goddard’s free-kick cleared the wall and crashed onto the crossbar.
That did not stop the Cards though, as the game produced some late late drama. Goddard eyed up another free-kick but this time it was Hatfield who denied the Woking-man, but illegaly in the eyes of the referee. The 23-year-old allegedly blocked the ball with his arm and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Rendell, who had been unnoticeable all afternoon and slotted his spot-kick beyond Glennon to level the scores mid-way through injury time. But that was not it.
After a Shaymen attack, Woking broke with electric pace and Betsy found substitute, Yemi Odubade at the back-post, who fired the ball into the corner to send the home fans into raptures and cause several Shaymen players to fall to their knees in disbelief, as the Cards grabbed the victory.
Woking team: Jake Cole; Adam Newton (Yemi Odubade 80”), Chris Arthur, Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts; Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh (Manny Oyeleke 65”), John Goddard, Kevin Betsy (c); Scott Rendell, Giuseppe Sole (Joey Jones 85”).
Woking unused subs: Michael Crowe, Brian Saah.
Yellow cards: Cole (46’), Murtagh (59’)
Red cards: Payne (81”)
Goals: Payne (17’), Rendell (90+3'), Odubade (90+4')
FC Halifax Town team: Glennon; Kevin Roberts, Marc Roberts (c) (Steve Williams 56”), Graham Hutchison, Scott McManus; Adam Smith (Jamie Jackson 46”), Matty Pearson, Paul Marshall, Will Hatfield, Danny Schofield; Danny Hattersley.
FC Halifax Town unused subs: Phil Senior, James Bolton.
Yellow cards: Smith (35’), Pearson (59’), Hatfield (90+1’)
Goals: McManus (10’), Hatfield (46')
Referee: David Rock
Official Website Man of the Match: Matt Glennon