Mixenden United v Shelf United

6.15pm  4 September 2015

Halifax and District League, Premier Division
Mixenden United 4 Shelf United 1 (att 80)

If it's a Friday evening in late August or early September then chances are it'll be a trip to Halifax, and Mixenden's Natty Lane pitch was the final ground I needed to complete the Premier Division.

I've been to Natty Lane before, but Mixenden play on a park pitch next door to the enclosed, and previously-visited, ground shared by county league sides Halifax Irish and Ovenden WR. A steep grass bank backing onto the senior ground provided a good view of the action.

The game kicked off a few minutes ahead of the scheduled 6.15 kick off, and Mixenden, playing their opening league fixture, wasted no time. They'd scored twice before my watch got to a quarter past six.

They added a third by half time, but Shelf recovered from their poor start to make a game of it, pulling a goal back in the second half.

The fourth goal, that cliched it for Mixenden, was an unusual and controversial one. A Shelf free kick, deep in their own half, was taken quickly and passed to a defender, at least that's what Mixenden believed.

But the Shelf defender thought the ball had been passed to him to take the free kick, so caught and placed it. Mixenden claimed a handball, the referee dithered before agreeing with them, and, while Shelf argued, a quick-thinking home player lobbed the free kick into an unguarded net. After a few seconds of uncertainty the ref gave the goal.

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