The Non-League Football Paper
ACE SAM HANDS IT TO SHAYMEN!
FC HALIFAX Town are on their way to Wembley after a dramatic 94th-minute equaliser was followed by a nail-biting penalty shootout success at Altrincham.
A last-gasp thunderbolt from Millenic Alli cancelled out Jordan Hulme’s 44th-minute opener for the Altrincham and set up a spot-kick showdown which saw goalkeeper Sam Johnson emerge as their hero.
The Shaymen will be looking to repeat their FA Trophy from 2016 and boss Chris Millington said: “I’m delighted, over the moon. It’s just massive for myself, the players, the fans.
“We could’ve been two or three down, but credit to the resilience of this team. And when it goes to penalties, we’ve gotta believe that it might just be our year, we have Sam Johnson in net. Yes, we’ve had bucket loads of luck today, but we’re gonna enjoy this. We’ve had plenty of times this season when the luck’s gone against us.”
Alty were in control for large periods with Eddy Jones twice going close to opemning the scoring in the first half. First, he just failed to react quick enough to a rebound after Hulme’s effort was well parried by Johnson, before the full-back again found space in the box but a remarkable sliding block from Angelo Cappello deflected his effort over.
But the hosts did eventually go in-front, on the stroke of half-time. A powerful effort from the superb Josh Lundstram was bravely headed away by Tylor Golden, but Hulme was on hand to pass the ball into the bottom corner.
The visitors regrouped after the break, and Robins goalkeeper Ollie Byrne was forced into a fantastic double save from Alli and Matty Warburton on 54 minutes, to maintain Altrincham’s lead.
Top scorer Emmanuel Dieseruvwe then missed a glorious chance to level in the 74th minute, when a Luke Summerfield corner was headed down in the box, but
the striker somehow put the ball wide from two yards out.
With Halifax committing everyone forward in stoppage time, the Robins thought they had done enough, until the ball spilled out to Alli on the edge of the box in the dying seconds, and the winger hit a pile driver straight into the bottom corner to send the Town fans behind the goal into delirium.
Jack Senior saw his penalty saved as Alty edged in front in the shootout, but Johnson then saved twice from Jones and Maxi Oyedele. And victory was completed when substitute Tyrese Sinclair hit the bar for the hosts.
“That’s the cruellest of the cruel. I thought we we’d done it,” said Alty assistant boss Neil Sorvel. “We were far the better team and the fans were fantastic, they backed us all the way.”