Peter Swales Shield - Ashton United 1-1 FC Halifax Town (FCHT win 5-4 on pens)

Match report by Steve Lee

The match between the Evostik League Champion 2010/11 and the 2011/12 League Challenge Cup winners went the way of Halifax in a keenly contested game that went to a penalty shootout following a goal apiece in normal time.

Town dominated the first half as they monopolised possession and closed the Robins down. Newly appointed Ashton United skipper Danny Caldecott led by example to deny Scott Hogan with a clearance off the line, but there was nothing anyone could do to deny Halifax midfielder Nicky Gray, as the former Leeds United trainee fired in a shot from 25 yards that flew into the top corner.

Chris Amadi wasted a chance to hit back instantly when he made room for himself following a pass from Ian Bennett, but his shot blazed over the bar.

Town keeper Phil Senior was called into action when Bennett and Aaron Burns combined, the latter firing in a shot that Senior tipped away.

In first half stoppage time, Burns long range effort took a slight deflection before hitting the post and rebounding to safety.

The second half saw both teams have early chances, a glancing header from Burns was cleared off the line, whilst at the other end, the Robins were almost made to pay for not clearing their lines, but Hogan shot wide.

Ashton began to establish some control of the game, Liam Dawson had an effort saved, whilst George Melling's far post header went wide under pressure.

Ashton equalised in bizarre fashion as Dawson whipped in a free kick on the left, Senior must have been distracted by the onrushing Melling and Chris Rimmer as he allowed the ball to bypass everyone and into the net.

Danny Holland shot wide and a long run into Ashton territory from Gray brought a brave from Smith.

Burns almost made the most of a defensive mix up following a long kick from Smith, but his shot from a narrow angle was saved by Senior.

Smith kept Town at bay with a save to deny Holland following a pass by Harry Winter.

The game continued to ebb and flow and some good build up play on the right saw Matty O'Neill and Kyle Harrop combine, the right back produced a cross from which Bennett fired goalwards, only to be denied by Senior.

Bennett wasted a good chance after being put in by Burns, but his shot went across the face of the goal.

Bathurst was presented with an ideal chance to win the game after a sublime pass from Peter Wright, but the finish was weak and Senior easily saved.

Smith was equal to a late shot from Hogan following a fine solo run, and then saved a curling shot by Winter.

The final chance came the way of Burns who shot wide after good build up play from Bennett.

The ensuing penalty shootout saw the first nine penalties comfortably dispatched, but the final spot kick saw Harrop's effort tipped around the post to earn the Shaymen the trophy.

Where next?

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