If Louis Van Gaal wants to look for sympathy for the rumours swirling around about his future he could do worse than looking towards Jim Harvey.




For twenty four hours after the Manchester United manager had his FA Cup celebrations cut short by rumours of Jose Mourinho’s imminent arrival, FC Haliax Town hadn’t even finished their FA Trophy Final against Grimsby Town before speculation about their manager’s future had begun.

Ironically the man at the centre of the speculation was a manager that created an FA Trophy shock of his own last season, with North Ferriby United boss Billy Heath believed to be lined up to replay Harvey.

On the field Scott McManus’ goal early in the second half was enough to see the Shaymen put relegation behind them by taking the FA Trophy back to Yorkshire.

And it was a deserved victory too as Harvey and his coaching staff masterminded a disciplined, organised display from their side.

The first quarter of an hour of the game seemed to fly past with little to talk about, as both sets of players seemed nervy and the game was a cagey affair.

Indeed it was on the fifteen minute mark when the first chance came as a poor defensive header feel to Shaymen striker Jordan Burrow but he could only find the side netting from a narrow angle.

Three minutes later there was a first chance for Grimsby Town.bogle

A high looping cross to the far post found Padraig Amond but his downward header was easily accepted by Sam Johnson.

Halifax seemed to be settling the quicer of the two sides and were left to rue a fine last-ditch challenge from Mariners captain Craig Disley, as he blocked a low drive by Josh MacDonald.

The Shaymen maintained their pressure, although without really troubling James McKeown.

And that pressure was met by roars of approval from the vast following they had brought to Wembley, as their supporters were encouraged by the way their side were taking the game to their opponents.

However, the next chance fell to the Mariners ten minutes before the break as Sam Johnson was called into serious action for the first time.

Again it was Amond that rose to meet a cross from the right and his flicked header was parried away to safety by Johnson as he dived low down to his right hand side.

As the half wore on it became abundantly clear that both sides had cancelled each other out and after playing one minute of injury time the half ended with the deadlock unbroken.

However it didn’t remain that way for very long in the second half, as Shaymen defender Scott McManus put his side in front with a sublime goal.

A cross into the area caused havoc for the Mariners back four and when the loose ball ran to McManus curled the ball over three defenders and keeper McKeown from the edge of the box.

fcht goalAs it sailed into the net the Shaymen supporters burst into celebration.

With twenty minutes of the game left Shaymen keeper Sam Johnson produced a brilliant stop to keep his side in front.

Jon Nolan broke into the right hand side of the area and struck a low drive that struck Johnson on the legs but he still managed to get it away to safety.

Buoyed by that save the Shaymen took control with sustained possession and every pass met by an ole by their support.

The Mariners became more desperate and forced their opponents deeper and deeper into their own half.

Substitute Nathan Arnold came close with a mazy run and shot that slid just past the near post and the same player broke a fine save out of Johnson with a shot from fifteen yards.

The chances, albeit half ones, came and went.

Shaun Pearson was the next to try his luck with a header from an Arnold corner, but it was directed straight at Johnson.

And that was the sum token of their riposte as the Shaymen, carried by their unflappable support, ensured that one goal was enough to seal the FA Trophy and make their first visit to Wembley a truly remarkable one.

Attention will now turn towards their manager’s future, but nothing should take away from the fine display his side gave him on a historic day for the Shaymen.

FC Halifax Town (4-2-3-1): Johnson, Brown, Roberts, Bencherif, Bolton, McManus (James 74), Wroe, Hibbs, Peniket (Hughes 85), MacDonald (Walker 62), Burrow

Subs: McDonald, Porter

Goals: McManus 46

Grimsby Town (4-4-2): McKeown, Tait (East 81), Robertson, Pearson, Disley, Bogle, Amond, Monkhouse (Pittman 68), Clay (Arnold 62), Nsiala, Nolan

Subs: Gowling, Venney

Goals: None

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referee: Adam Nunn, Matthew Wilkes

Report: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)

Images: www.actionimages.com


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