Hallam FC 4 – 2 Frickley Athletic FC
A Wednesday night beneath the Sandygate floodlights saw the stage set for what promised to be an intriguing encounter between Hallam FC and Frickley Athletic, a team playing in the Northern Premier League Division One, two leagues above the Countrymen. With the success recently enjoyed by Hallam, how would they fare against mightier opposition? An impressive crowd of 341 flocked to that theatre of dreams known as Sandygate to witness the drama unfold, in this second round of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup.
All good dramas require a mighty hero who overcomes great obstacles. Enter stage left, Kieren Watson. Kieren is a firm favourite with the Sandygate faithful, a player who has earned the right to be called a ‘goal scoring machine’. A recent illness gave him his own battles to fight away from the football arena, but now he seems to be well-recovered and returning to his previous best. In the second minute of the game, with the crowd still settling down, Kieren produced what for many will be the highlight of the match – his first goal since returning from illness. He demonstrated that same skill, panache, and confidence in front of goal that made him such a fan favourite, and it was wonderful to see him celebrating in front of the Shed End!
The match barely started, and already Hallam one goal to the good. If the Blues of Frickley thought this was going to be a routine night against lower league opposition, they were rudely awoken.
Both sides played entertaining, attacking football, and the crowd were treated to a no-holds barred contest. Just ten minutes after Watson’s opening salvo, James Gregory hammered home Hallam’s second of the night. However, within the space of four minutes any notions of Hallam marching on to an easy victory were quickly squashed when Frickley Athletic snatched a goal, putting themselves right back in the game.
But still Hallam surged forward, demonstrating a confidence and ability that belied the difference in league status between the two sides. On 22 minutes Hallam were rewarded for their enterprise, man of the moment Watson once more showing great composure and class in front of goal. 3 – 1 to Hallam, and as the half-time whistle was blown, all smiles from the Hallam faithful.
The second half began in the same vein, and it was Max Pemberton who duly dispatched Hallam’s fourth of the night. At 4 – 1, the home fans may have been forgiven for thinking Hallam were home and dry. But the night’s drama delivered one final plot twist. On 59 minutes Frickley were awarded what is known in the game as a ‘soft penalty’, bringing the score-line to 4 – 2. With 30 minutes still to be played out, another Frickley goal would have changed the complexion of the game.
However Hallam stood firm, surviving one or two nervy moments, while continuing to push forward with belief and confidence. When the final whistle was blown, Hallam emerged from the Sandygate cauldron the 4 – 2 victors, and with a notable scalp under their belts! Hallam FC move on to the next round of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup.
Hallam FC Media
Photos credit: sptxx3.tumblr.com - thanks Matt!