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Reigning champions held by spirited Alcuin seconds

A spirited Alcuin seconds side held Halifax firsts to an entertaining 1-1 draw on Tuesday's opening JLD fixture as the reigning champions Halifax encountered their first hiccup of the campaign.

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Group B

[flickr-slideshow tags="alcuin2shalifax1s060514" caption="Images: Petroc Taylor"]

A spirited Alcuin seconds side held Halifax firsts to an entertaining 1-1 draw on Tuesday's opening JLD fixture as the reigning champions Halifax encountered their first hiccup of the campaign.

The Fax will be gutted that striker Garo Heath didn't open the scoring the second minute when he was put through on goal, but his attempt to lob the Alcuin keeper Harry Smith also lobbed the goal.

Despite being the underdogs, Alcuin were very attacking throughout the first half and Halifax's defence sometimes struggled to handle the energy of the Owls' attacking three, with Fax and university right-back Guy Bowden even describing himself as "unsettled".

Alcuin continued to impress in what was turning out to be a very open game. On the ten minute, Alcuin forward Jack McConnel couldn't find room for a shot but found room to set Matt Twin, but the ball sailed harmlessly over the goal.

With fluid attacking play coming from both sides, the game certainly wasn't going to remain goalless and Connor Meckin finally put Halifax ahead on fifteen minutes. From a Kieran Gennoy free kick, Heath chested the ball into the path of Meckin to slot home from close range and give his side the lead.

Halifax continued to grow into the game whilst Meckin, playing down the left wing, continued to impress. He almost doubled his goal tally when another well-placed Gennoy free kick narrowly missed the head of Heath, allowing it to fall to the feel of Meckin at the far post. However, he could only rattle his attempt off the crossbar.

Regardless, Alcuin weren't fazed by going a goal down and continued to niggle the Halifax defence and force them into errors.

The Owls finally found a deserved equaliser shortly before half time in the simplest of fashions. From a free kick in their half, the ball found the head of George Brough who headed the ball down to the left foot of Tom Simpson, who fired a terrific low volley into the bottom corner past Fax's helpless and veteran goalkeeper Jonny Sim.

In the second half, Fax got their heads down and began take a stronger foothold on the game, with Alcuin spending the majority of the half on the back foot. From the very off, Heath was put through and forced an excellent save from Smith, who was called into action again a few moments later when he blocked a Dan Jones attempt on goal.

However, Alcuin's defence was stalwart, meaning that chances dried up for both sides for the remainder of the game as Halifax failed to make their domination of possession have an effect on the score-line.

A delighted Alcuin captain, Peter Kennick, told Nouse: "I think [the result] was well deserved. We started the game to attack and we were just getting battered in the end so we just fell into defence and, luckily, we managed to just hold out".

The Halifax captain Connor McCoy, who missed the game through injury, said of the upset: "We've got to expect the worst. We've all played on here before and we know that with any team there is upsets all the time. Our boys weren't up for it enough. We were losing the first and second balls too often and we were passing the ball and not moving. It was a real lack of effort on our part and it was a real wake-up call to the lads".

Alcuin: Smith, Pickar, Perrara, Tourzamou, Kennick (C), Harget, Simpson, McConnell, Carver (Davey), Twin, Brough
Man of the match: Stephen Harget

Halifax: Sim, Howarth, Kearney, Bull, Bowden, Meckin, Gennoy, Jones, Pilides, Dunning (Collins), Heath
Man of the match: Sean Kearney

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