On Saturday 29th October AFC Halifax were hosts to Rochdale. Off the back of taking all 3 points away from the mariners the previous week AFC were in fine form and went into the fixture full of confidence, despite having to make various changes throughout the field. With Sutton still hospitalised Adam Probets who has barely settled into his new position as a central defender was given the nod between the sticks, whereas veteran player manager John Barker gave himself the duties in the absence of Probets in the back 4. Gaffer Barker had clearly done his homework as his team went into the day 4-5-1 with *Turkish stallion* Hemblys leading the line as the lone striker.
AFC started brightly in a packed line of midfield with the likes of Wright and Fawkes causing problems down the wing and a middle 3 of Luders, Addy and Noble winning their individual battles. As little as the 3rd minute of the game saw some great footwork by Fawkes resulted in him been brought down by the dale defence. Hemblys took the free kick and his effort just shaded the post. The first 15 minutes of the game they were very little to separate the two sides however, in the 17th minute what can only be described as an horrendous mistake between the stand in keeper Probets and the *Italian stallion newly wed* Casalino allowed the dale striker to tap home from 5 yards and make it 1-0 to the visitors. 1-0 then quickly then became 2-0 with a fine through-ball from the dale midfield which resulted in the striker slotting the ball past the helpless Probets despite cries of an offside from Gavin *Nudes* Higgins which were turned away from regular official Lou Casalino. Many could argue that AFC did not deserve to trail the match at this point and from a neat piece of triangle play between Noble, Hemblys and Fawkes resulted in a defensive error in the dale backline which saw AFC reduce the lead to 1-2 with a confident finish from Fawkes into the bottom left hand corner. In the 25th minute was then what could be argued as the games turning point, Addy who somehow saw himself 1 on 1 with the with the dale keeper missed when all he had to do was pull the trigger to level the game. Good teams tend to punish bad mistakes and that is exactly what dale did, some nice collective passes through the midfield resulted in the right midfielder getting the better of Heaton who then delivered a lovely ball into the box and with Casalino sleeping at the back post, he left the dale striker with a free header into the back of the net despite Probets getting fingertips to it. 3 was soon to be 4 with nearly a replica of the 3rd goal just over 10 minutes later from the left hand side, the tricky left winger got the better of Casalino who again added another pin point cross on to the head of the dale striker who placed his header into the top left hand corner. Just before the break AFC once again cried for the linesmans flag as the pacey striker latched on to yet another through-ball which cut the defence wide open only to see their hopes of the offside turned down for the second time in the game. 1-5 at half time.
As the second half got underway AFC made 2 subs with Luders coming off for Tom Ashton and Nathan *#lethal* Wright making way for last weeks controversial man of the match Brendan *Bernard* Jackson. The AFC gaffer also changed the shape of the team to an old traditional 4-4-2 with Ashton coming into the frame to support the isolated Hemblys. With just over 10 minutes into the second half AFC defence were once again cut open and for the 3rd time in the game the backline wanted offside, and with the match officials turning down the appeals it looked for all the world it would be easy to deal with from the stand in keeper, however somehow Probets managed to juggle the ball in the wet conditions which ultimately gave the dale striker yet another gift to make the match 1-6. In the 69th minute dale extended their lead to 1-7 despite the introductions to the 6ft striker Billy *the hitman* Bremner who celebrated his debut and Martyn *Chester* Lukowski who made his 2nd appearance for the Yorkshire boys. In the 77th minute John Barker almost added an 8th for dale from a corner whipped in from the right only to thankfully see his header flick just past the left hand post. Dale however did make it 8 from the resulting corner with some horrific defending from AFC which saw a short corner with the winger dribbling to the corner of the 18 yard box and unleashing a powerful strike into the right hand corner of the net. In the final minute of the game Ashton found himself 1 on 1 with the dale keeper and all he had to do was lift the ball over the head of the keeper however, he failed to do so and lifted the ball over the top of the goal for which could only be known as a sitter.
As the full time whistle sounded this was definitely a day at the office for the AFC Halifax faithful to forget. Post match the AFC gaffer added *It was not acceptable and we will be addressing the faults promptly in training Monday evening. I must credit dale, they were very organised and when you allow a good team to play football, they will punish you if you are not on your game and lose your individual battles which we did. We missed a hatful of chances and by chances I mean sitters and to be honest, our stand in keeper did make shameful mistakes yes however, he also kept us from losing the game double figures. We will go again though because that is who we are and that is just what AFC Halifax is about*.