Read up about the Hallam FC games both at Sandygate and on the road.
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Hallam FC 3 - 2 Brigg Town
For the last time before Christmas, the Hallam faithful were welcomed back to Sandygate, with the Covid-restricted ticket allocation selling out in a remarkable two minutes and four seconds! The visitors were Brigg Town FC for this Northern Counties East League Division One match.
The first half got underway with instant end-to-end action, and both 'keepers played out of their skins, producing a series of outstanding saves. As the first half neared its end, it seemed the goalkeeping heroics would maintain the stalemate, until the 45th minute when Brigg were awarded a penalty. Jack Bowskin converted, meaning that at half-time the Zebras' late penalty was the only difference between the two teams.
Hallam FC 0 - 2 Shildon AFC
For the first time since October, Sandygate welcomed back the Hallam faithful, this time a COVID-restricted crowd of 150. The Countrymen's opponents were Shildon AFC, from the Northern League Division One, for an FA Vase match under the cold December floodlights.
The first half saw both teams creating chances, with Hallam coming close to finding the back of the net on a number of occasions. But it was Shildon who sustained the most pressure, forcing Hallam's 'keeper Sam Andrew into making some smart saves. The Countrymen remained strong in defence, though, and following another fine save from 'keeper Sam Andrew, the scoreline remained level at 0-0 when the half-time whistle blew.
Hallam FC 5 - 3 East Hull
HT - 4-1
Att - 300
After the opening games of the season being played in warm and sunny conditions, the weather decided to remind us all that the Oldest Football Ground in the World really is 'on top of the hill'! It was a misty, chilly, and rainy Saturday afternoon when the Countrymen welcomed East Hull FC to Sandygate.
The weather may have been dull and grey, but from the first minute this was a bright firecracker of a game! With barely sixty seconds on the clock, the first attack by East Hull forced Hallam 'keeper David Reay to make a fine save. In response, the ensuing Hallam attack saw Kieren Watson score a splendid headed goal, putting Hallam in the lead in only the third minute.
A damp and overcast Saturday afternoon failed to subdue the spirits of the Sandygate faithful, and it was another Covid regulation sell-out crowd of 300 that welcomed the visitors, Nostell Miners Welfare.
The Sandygate faithful didn't have to wait long for Hallam to take the lead. In the 6th minute, an assist by Jack Brownell saw Kieren Watson hitting the back of the Nostell net. Nostell's insistence to play the ball out from goal kicks put their defence under pressure for much of the first half, as the Hallam forwards hovered on the edge of the box, ready to pounce on any mistake. This pressure was rewarded in the 15th minute when Christopher Wood capitalised on some poor Nostell play and scored a classic poacher's goal. 2 – 0 to the Hallam with just 15 minutes played.
Hallam FC 2 - 2 Retford FC
HT - 1-0
Att - 281
A decidedly Autumnal Tuesday evening, the warm weather of late having deserted Sandygate, saw Hallam FC's first game of the new season. The crowd of 281 included Marco and Tonchy, who had made the pilgrimage to the World's Oldest Football Ground all the way from Chile. The visitors beneath the floodlights were Retford FC.
The first half started brightly for both teams, with plenty of fearless, attacking football on display. Some full-blooded challenges saw a spate of free-kicks as the game became increasingly physical. Hallam FC's 'keeper, David Reay, produced a series of good saves to deny the visitors, and then in the 42nd minute the Countrymen made the break-through when a clumsy challenge by the Retford defence resulted in a penalty. The spot-kick was coolly converted by Sandygate folk hero Kieren Watson.
Hallam FC 4 -3 AFC Blackpool
After the enforced Covid-19 lockdown, it was wonderful to welcome football back to Sandygate, albeit without Hallam's amazing supporters. The guests at a chilly and damp Sandygate were AFC Blackpool for this first round tie of the FA Vase.
The weather conditions may have been cold with the occasional flurry of icicle-like rain, but both teams served up a scorcher of a game! With little more than two minutes on the clock, the Countrymen opened the scoring when a Hallam corner was converted by Max Pemberton. However almost from the restart, Blackpool were back in the game when Connor Ikin headed home the equaliser.
In the seventh minute, Kieren Watson's determination and persistence, refusing to give up on a ball that seemed destined for the Blackpool 'keeper's hands, gave him his first of the afternoon and Hallam's second.
Hallam FC 1 – 1 Burscough FC
(Hallam FC win 4 – 3 on penalties)
On another glorious sunny day, beautiful uptown Sandygate hosted the FA Vase with Burscough FC the visitors. An enthusiastic crowd of 300 were served up an afternoon of sporting entertainment that is sure to be talked about for quite some time! This tie was originally meant to be played at Burscough, but work at their ground meant the match had to be moved to Sandygate, and so Hallam found themselves the away team playing at home, and Burscough the home team playing away!
The game got off to a lively start, with instant end-to-end action. Both teams had their share of free-kicks, corners, and half-chances, with both defences proving difficult to break down. However some sloppy Hallam defending on the 40th minute saw the ball fall to the feet of Burscough's Josh Quarless, who showed great presence of mind to lob the ball over the stranded Hallam 'keeper.
Hallam FC 1 – 2 Emley AFC
The Tuesday night visitors beneath the floodlights at Sandygate were high-flying Emley AFC. A Covid-capacity crowd of 300 welcomed both teams, with tickets having sold out on release day in a remarkable 46 minutes.
It was Emley who started the brighter but as the first half progressed Hallam began to find their rhythm, and started to exert pressure of their own. However in the 20th minute some hesitant Hallam defending in their own box led to a clumsy challenge, and Emley were awarded a penalty kick. Kyle Willis duly obliged for the visitors. 1 – 0 to Emley AFC.
Another balmy night at beautiful uptown Sandygate saw the Countrymen's final pre-season friendly take place, when the RAF Regiment FC flew into the world's oldest football ground! The 191 crowd were treated to a goal fest that few could have predicted!
Hallam FC got off to the perfect start when, in the second minute, Rhys Davis converted a parried shot, slotting the ball deftly into the back of the RAF Regiment net. Just six minutes later, Hallam pounced on some hesitant defending, the ball being nicked on the edge of the box, and a square pass left Christopher Woods with a simple tap in.
Hallam FC 3 - 1 Parkgate
HT - 0-1
Att - 300
On another decidedly autumnal day at Sandygate, Hallam FC were the hosts of this second qualifying round of the FA Vase, with league rivals Parkgate the visitors. All 300 tickets for the match sold out in less than 24 hours, meaning that once again there was another impressive display of supporters.
The game got off to a lively start, with Hallam creating a good goal-scoring opportunity within the first minute. The Countrymen continued to have a strong first half, with only the final touch missing in order to convert chances into goals. Yet, in the 21st minute, it was Parkgate who struck first. A rebound off the Hallam 'keeper, David Reay, saw the ball fall to the feet of Frederick Tracey, who slotted it into the back of the net. As the half-time whistle blew the Steelmen were leading one nil, but there was still plenty of football left in this FA Vase tie, and all to play for.
Hallam FC 3 - 2 Grantham Town
Chris Woods 77 Juan 20, 31
Kieran Watson 81
Iren Wilson 89
On a warm late summer's evening, Hallam FC entertained Grantham Town under 23s for a friendly match that would see the return of paying spectators for the first time since lock-down measures were introduced. The crowd at Sandygate were treated to a highly competitive game that belied the fact that this was a pre-season friendly. If anyone in the 150 crowd thought they were going to witness a gentle training match, then they were in for a pleasant surprise.