Hibs defeated in National League friendly as manager hails 'fantastic opposition'

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Hibs were beaten 4-2 by National League side Halifax Town on Monday afternoon as a mixed Easter Road XI helped the West Yorkshire side prepare for the FA Trophy final this weekend.

Josh O’Connor and substitute Robbie Hamilton were on target for the visitors at the Shay Stadium. Chris Millington’s men are taking on league rivals Gateshead at Wembley on Sunday and wanted to arrange a bounce game as part of their training schedule. With a planned game against an Everton development side on Tuesday cancelled, Hibs made rearrangements and provided the opposition for the Shaymen.

A mix of under-18, development, and first-team players made the trip to West Yorkshire with Rocky Bushiri continuing his comeback from injury in defence alongside Darren McGregor and Kyle McClelland. Dylan Tait was handed a start along with Runar Hauge, Allan Delferrière, Kanayo Megwa, Oscar MacIntyre, and O’Connor. Reuben McAllister and goalkeeper Freddie Owens were the sole under-18 representatives in the starting line-up although Adam Khan, Ethan Laidlaw, Alfie Smith, and Harry Wright were named among the substitutes along with Hamilton, Tom Carter, Murray Aiken, and Malek Zaid.

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Matt Warburton opened the scoring for Halifax after just eight minutes, finishing into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the area but O’Connor hit back with a deflected effort on the quarter-hour mark after driving at the home defence. Owens was the busier of the two ‘keepers and foiled Warburton, Millenic Alli, and Rob Harker as the hosts looked to regain the lead. When they did get their noses in front again it was Jesse Debrah who tapped in from close range following a corner routine.

Hibs were beaten by their National League oppositionHibs were beaten by their National League opposition
Hibs were beaten by their National League opposition

Alli gave Town a two-goal advantage shortly after the restart, finding the net via the post, and Angelo Cappello made it four with an hour played, effectively ending the game as a contest before Hamilton reduced the deficit in the final minutes after O’Connor and Laidlaw had had efforts saved.

Speaking afterwards Millington said: “It was a real worthwhile experience, we’re grateful to Hibs and the part they've played in being a fantastic opposition. They approached the game in the perfect way, which allowed us to do what we needed to do in the game and get out of it.”

Hibs: Owens, Megwa, Bushiri (Hamilton 58’), McGregor, McClelland, O MacIntyre, Tait, Delferrière (Khan 87’), Hauge (Laidlaw 46’), McAllister (Aiken 58’), O’Connor. Subs not used: Carter, Wright, Smith, Zaid.

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