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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Halifax 2-3 Hereford (aet)
Hereford's Andy Williams (left) and Tyrone Thompson of Halifax jostle for possession
Williams (left) levelled at 1-1 for Hereford in an entertaining match
Ryan Green's extra-time winner secured Hereford's rise into League Two after they overcame heartbroken Halifax in the Conference play-off final.

A 20-yard Lewis Killen strike put Halifax ahead but Andy Williams quickly levelled with a stooping header.

John Grant's flicked near post shot restored the lead for the Shaymen only for a Guy Ipoua header to again level.

And, just as it seemed penalties loomed during a cautious extra-time, Green floated in a left-foot shot.

There was an early moment of controversy in the game when Halifax thought they should have had a penalty for a Tamika Mkandawire handball from Ryan Sugden's near post header.

A spot-kick would have given the Shaymen the chance to take a deserved lead after a bright start to the game but their appeals were waved away by the referee.

Killeen went close with two strikes on goal either side of the penalty appeal as Halifax continued to threaten before Hereford began to make their mark on the match.

Ryan Sugden's goalbound header for Halifax is blocked by the arm of Hereford defender Tamika Mkandwire
Halifax felt they should have had a penalty for Mkandwire's handball

And they were only prevented from taking the lead when backtracking keeper Jon Kennedy tipped over Craig Stanley's dipping 25-yard shot.

Halifax heeded the warning of almost going behind and took the lead in impressive style with Killeen's outswinging curler after Hereford failed to clear their lines.

But the Bulls hit back through top scorer Williams' stooping far post header from an Adam Stansfield cross.

Kennedy came to his side's rescue when he palmed a Purdie header wide as the two teams went in with the final delicately poised at the break.

Stansfield was a constant source of threat to Halifax and he produced a mazy run shortly into the second half before seeing his angled drive saved by the feet of Kennedy.

Hereford escaped conceding a penalty early on but they were on the wrong end of a similar decision after 58 minutes when they were denied an apparent spot-kick after Purdie was brought down by Tyrone Thompson.

Stansfield headed into the ground and over from close range with the momentum firmly in the Bulls favour at the Walkers Stadium of Championship side Leicester City.

But Halifax forced their way back into the match and substitute Grant arrived at the near post to flick in the cross of Killeen in what appeared a deflating blow to Hereford.

The Bulls' agony in the play-offs looked set to continue but Ipoua nodded in to restore parity and send the game into extra-time.

The players from both sides were showing signs of tiredness during a cautious extra period before Green side-footed a shot home from the corner of the area.

  • Halifax boss Chris Wilder:
    "We've given it a go and there are a lot of things for us to be proud of.

    "We said before the game that we needed to play well and I think we did that but we just didn't get the luck and that's not to take anything away from Hereford.

    "Maybe it was just their day today. We've gone for the game and fair play to them for going on and winning it."

  • Hereford boss Graham Turner:
    "We have been so close on several occasions and I think overall the feeling at the moment is relief.

    "To come back from the goals that they scored just shows the character in the side.

    "We knew they were a well-organised and highly motivated side and we had to be at our best to beat them."

    Halifax: Kennedy, Haslam, Quinn, Atherton, Young (Bushell 61), Doughty (Senior 76), Foster, Thompson, Forrest, Sugden (Grant 65), Killeen.
    Subs Not Used: Butler, Smikle.

    Booked: Senior.

    Goals: Killeen 27, Grant 73.

    Hereford: Brown, Green, Mkandawire, Beckwith, Jeannin, Travis, Ferrell, Stanley (Pitman 90), Purdie, Stansfield (Fleetwood 94), Williams (Ipoua 75).
    Subs Not Used: Mawson, Carey-Bertram.

    Booked: Mkandawire, Jeannin, Green, Ipoua.

    Goals: Williams 34, Ipoua 80, Green 108.

    Att: 15,499

    Ref: D Whitestone (Northamptonshire).


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