It’s crunch time for FC Halifax Town on Saturday when they host Macclesfield Town at The Shay with their National League status on the line.
If Halifax win, they know their survival will be guaranteed, but a draw or a defeat will leave the door open for either Guiseley or Altrincham to overtake them.
It’s not the first time in recent memory that The Shaymen have stared relegation in the face, and as we look back at how they fared, the omens aren’t great.
Halifax 0-1 Hereford, May 8, 1993
Former Halifax player Derek Hall’s 62nd minute goal ended 72 years of league football at The Shay and sent Town into the Conference.
Hall had been warned by Hereford’s player-manager Greg Downs that he would be substituted if it was felt he was not putting in enough effort against his former team-mates; Downs needn’t have worried.
Instead, Northampton stayed up, despite being two goals down at one stage against Shrewsbury.
It proved to be unlucky number 13 for Town, who had finished bottom of the Football League on 12 previous occasions, but had been re-elected each time.
Most of the 8,000 Town supporters stayed on for an hour after the game to cheer their tearful players and chanting that they would be back next year.
Manager Mick Rathbone told the fans that “with the kind of support you give us we will not be long in that league”.
In fact, it would take five years to regain their league status.
Halifax: Bracey, German, Barr, Hardy, Lucketti, Bradley, Peake, Ridings, Megson, Patterson, Craven.
Hereford: Judge, Downs, Anderson, Davies, Abrahams, Morris, Hall, Pickard, Robotham, Jones, Nicholson.
Goal: Hall (62).
Darlington 5-0 Halifax, April 1, 2002
Not last day of the season this time, but Town fans weren’t in the mood for an April Fool as they were consigned to the Conference thanks to Darlington’s biggest win of the season.
Bristol Rovers’ 2-1 win at home to Kidderminster win meant the Shayman dropped from the Football League for the second time in their history.
They fell behind in the ninth minute through Ian Clark and were 2-0 down in the 14th minute after a penalty was given for deliberate handball by Matt Clarke.
The defender was red-carded and Clark scored from the spot.
Striker Barry Conlon headed Mark Convery’s cross for Darlington’s third, then four minutes later, Clark set-up Mark Ford, who side-footed in the fourth.
The rout was completed a minute from time when substitute Mark Sheeran headed in Brian Atkinson’s left-wing cross.
Darlington: Porter, McGurk, Craig Liddle, Reed, Heckingbottom, Hodgson, Atkinson, Ford, Clark, Conlon, Naylor.
Goals: Clark (9, 14), Conlon (60), Ford (64), Sheeran (89)
Halifax: Richardson, Harsley, Woodward, Mitchell, Swales, Jules, Redfearn, Bushell, Fitzpatrick, Midgley, Clarke.
Halifax 1-2 Stevenage, 26 April, 2008
Halifax had beaten Stevenage 4-2 on the final day of the 1996-97 season to beat the drop, and appeared to have averted relegation against them again, despite a narrow defeat at The Shay - but that was only half the story.
Steve Morison had put Borough ahead before Gavin Grant doubled their lead just before half-time.
Jon Shaw scored a penalty in the second-half but Town were unable to force a second.
There was therefore an anxious wait for the Halifax fans for news of Altrincham’s result, but their draw with Weymouth left The Shaymen a point clear of the drop zone and meant Weymouth were Town’s new second-favourite team.
But Town, who had been deducted 10 points for entering administration, were unable to overcome their financial problems and were forced to into liquidation.
Halifax: Legzdins, Quinn, Wright, Ainge, Griffith, Kearney, Heslop, Doughty, Forrest, Shaw, Killeen.
Goal: Shaw (64)
Stevenage: Masters, Wilson, Westwood, Henry, Smith, Grant, McMahon, Martin, Moore, O’Sullivan, Morison.
Goals: Morison (27), Grant (45)