The Buildbase FA Trophy

McManus winner sends FC Halifax Town into FA Trophy ecstasy

Sunday 22 May 2016
Kevin Roberts and Craig Clay challenge for the ball in a tense affair

Scott McManus struck a 48th-minute winner that landed FC Halifax the FA Trophy with a 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town at Wembley Stadium.

A cat-and-mouse game saw the 26-year-old fire home the only goal after the Mariners made a mess of clearing their ranks.

Halifax’s win went some way to healing the pain of relegation from the National League, while Grimsby’s promotion from the same league means the teams will be two divisions apart next season.

FC Halifax Town 1-0 Grimsby Town

The FA Trophy Final

Wembley Stadium connected by EE

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Fresh from their 3-1 National League play-off final triumph over Forest Green, the Mariners were back at Wembley for the second time in eight days.

A cagey first half saw Jordan Burrow go close for Halifax early on, while Padraig Amond – twice a scorer in Grimsby’s semi-final second-leg win over Bognor Regis – had a wonderful chance to get on the scoresheet.

He met a peach of a cross from right-back Sam Bolton, only to aim his header straight at Shaymen keeper Sam Johnson, before Bolton himself fired a 20-yard daisy-cutter a fraction wide as the Mariners warmed to their task.

And in the 33rd minute, midfielder Andy Monkhouse came close for Grimsby with a towering header that Johnson just beat away.

Halifax attacks were sporadic with Richard Peniket having a his 40th-minute penalty appeal waved away, while the huff and puff of tireless skipper Nicky Wroe came to nothing.

However, that all changed three minutes after the interval when a left-wing attack ended with Grimsby being unable to boot clear effectively.

The ball fell to midfielder McManus 20 yards out and he sent a clever, curling strike past Mariners’ keeper James McKeown.

In the 61st minute McKeown spilled a speculative drive from Wroe, before Grimsby’s counter-attack saw subs Jon-Paul Pittman and Josh Gowling combine to set up a third replacement in Nathan Arnold to fire just wide.

McManus limped off after 74 minutes to be replaced by Kingsley James, who married girlfriend Emily 24 hours earlier in York before racing down the motorway to join his team-mates.

Halifax continued to force the pace and Arnold went close again, but Grimsby summoned up one last big effort and Johnson was relieved to fall on a Gregor Robertson header.

Then Sam Walker cleared off the line during a last-gasp melee before Shaun Pearson let fly from 25 yards.

But it was the Shaymen, with Connor Hughes racing away only to come unstuck against the advancing McKeown, who held out for a tight win.

FC Halifax (4-3-3): Sam Johnson; James Bolton, Matty Brown, Kevin Roberts, Hamza Bencherif; Jake Hibbs, Nicky Wroe, Scott McManus; Richard Peniket, Josh MacDonald, Jordan Burrow

Substitutions: Sam Walker (for Macdonald 62), Kingsley James (for McManus 74), Connor Hughes (for Peniket 85)

Subs not used: Jordan Porter, Shaquille McDonald

Goal: McManus 48

Grimsby Town (4-4-2):James McKeown; Richard Tait, Shaun Pearson, Aristote Nsilla, Gregor Robertson; Jon Nolan, Craig Disley, Craig Clay, Andy Monkhouse; Omar Bogle, Padraig Almond

Substitutions: Nathan Arnold (for Clay 62), Jon-Paul Pittman (for Monkhouse 68), Danny East (for Tait 81)

Subs not used: Josh Gowling, Nathan Arnold

Referee: Lee Mason

Combined FA Vase/FA Trophy attendance: 46,781

By Geoff Sweet Reporter At Wembley Stadium connected by EE