2006 Conference National play-off Final

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2006 Conference National Play-off Final
Event Conference National 2005-06
After extra time
Date 20 May 2006
Venue Walkers Stadium, Leicester
Referee Dean Whitestone (Northumberland)
Attendance 15,499
2005
2007

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.[1] The result promoted Hereford to League Two while Halifax had to remain in the Conference.

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.[2] 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.[3]

Over 15,000 spectators attended the match, of which approximately 10,000 were Hereford fans.[4] The match was televised live by Sky and then made available on DVD by Hereford United.

Match summary[edit]

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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[4] 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, scoring what was only the second senior goal of his career.[5] 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.

Legacy[edit]

The result of the game had a profound effect on each team. Hereford went on to gain a further promotion from League Two, just two seasons later. Halifax's future however was a different story. With continuing financial problems off the pitch Halifax struggled to maintain form in the 2006–7 season and only avoided relegation from the Conference on the last day of the season. Chris Wilder found himself again in a relegation battle in 2007-8 after the team were docked 10 points when they were placed into administration by a local consortium trying to buy the club. Halifax again survived relegation on the last day of the season, only to find out later that they would be relegated anyway due to the consortium failing to meet the creditors' demands to bring the club out of administration. At a meeting of the Football Association, discussing the make-up of the football pyramid for the 2008–09 season, Halifax Town were not placed in either the Football Conference, the Conference North or the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Though the club appealed against the decision to remove them from the Football Conference, they were unsuccessful and the club was wound up.

Match details[edit]

20 May 2006
15:00 BST
Halifax Town 2–3
(a.e.t.)
Hereford United
Killeen Goal 27'
Grant Goal 73'
Report Williams Goal 34'
Ipoua Goal 80'
Green Goal 109'
Walkers Stadium, Leicester
Attendance: 15,499
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)
GK 1 Jon Kennedy
DF 2 Steve Haslam
DF 5 Adam Quinn
DF 16 Greg Young Substituted off 61'
DF 3 Matt Doughty Substituted off 76'
MF 8 Martin Foster (c)
MF 19 Peter Atherton
MF 18 Tyrone Thompson
FW 26 Danny Forrest
FW 11 Ryan Sugden Substituted off 65'
FW 10 Lewis Killeen
Substitutes:
GK 24 Lee Butler
DF 4 Steve Bushell
MF 25 Brian Smikle Substituted in 76'
FW 15 Chris Senior Booked 111' Substituted in 90'
FW 20 John Grant Substituted in 85'
Manager:
Chris Wilder
GK 14 Wayne Brown
DF 2 Ryan Green Booked 109'
DF 5 Tamika Mkandawire (c) Booked 76'
DF 28 Dean Beckwith
DF 20 Alex Jeannin Booked 88'
MF 3 Simon Travis
MF 15 Craig Stanley Substituted off 90'
MF 11 Andy Ferrell
MF 21 Rob Purdie
FW 16 Andy Williams Substituted off 75'
FW 9 Adam Stansfield Substituted off 94'
Substitutes:
GK 1 Craig Mawson
MF 8 Jamie Pitman Substituted in 90'
FW 18 Danny Carey-Bertram
FW 7 Stuart Fleetwood Substituted in 94'
FW 10 Guy Ipoua Booked 110' Substituted in 75'
Manager:
Graham Turner

MATCH RULES

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • Five named substitutes
  • Maximum of 3 substitutions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leicester to stage play-off final BBC Sport, 21 March 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.
  2. ^ Halifax hail Foster's double The Guardian, 11 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
  3. ^ Hereford 3–2 Morecambe (4–3 agg) BBC Sport, 11 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006
  4. ^ a b Hereford United 3–2 Halifax Town The Guardian, 22 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Green's art gives Turner prize of League return The Independent, 21 May 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2008.