FC Halifax Town’s seven game winning run was brought to an abrupt end by Brackley Town at the MBi Shay Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Shaymen had gone in ahead through Jordan Sinnott and there was little indication of what was to come in the second half. A Lee Ndlovu brace sandwiched Steve Diggin’s tap in to complete a fine comeback for the visitors, who won 3-1.
Town struggled to gain a foothold in the game in the opening minutes but Brackley didn’t particularly threaten either. Josh Macdonald beat his man and picked out Liam King from the byline, but the skipper scooped his shot well over the bar.
Scott Garner played a wonderfully inventive through ball with a powerful header, from which Jordan Sinnott’s low cross looked destined to be tapped in at the far post, but no blue shirt could get on the end of it.
Garner was again involved in an attacking role as his flick-on found Simmons but the loanee couldn’t beat Laurie Walker in the Brackley goal, as he saved smartly low to his left.
Alex Gudger crossed from the right for the visitors but a deflection took the ball just behind the head of Luke Graham as Town fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Gudger was involved again just minutes later but this time near his own goal with an error which would cost his side the lead. He tried to be too clever and was dispossessed by Macdonald. The young winger worked the ball to Sinnott whose first time shot was too powerful for Walker. The ‘keeper got a hand to the ball but it nestled in the top left hand corner regardless, to give the Shaymen the lead in the 31st minute.
Just before half time, Sinnott didn’t need a second invitation to shoot as the Brackley defence stood off him. His long range shot looked to be curling just inside the post but Walker got enough on it to turn it behind and keep Brackley in touch.
Macdonald’s fiercely hit shot with his left foot left Laurie Walker rooted to the spot until it bounced cruelly off the post and hit Walker. Fortunately for the visitors the ball stopped almost dead when it looked like it could have rolled back into the south stand goal.
Brackley were level just past the hour mark. Glenn Walker’s corner was swung in right under the crossbar of Steven Drench who was surrounded by several Brackley shirts. Under challenge the ‘keeper failed to deal with it and Lee Ndlovu bundled it over the line.
The game was turned on its head less than three minutes later as Glenn Walker was again involved. His low ball from the left wasn’t cleared and left Steve Diggin with a chance which was harder to miss than to score. The visitors were ahead and the MBi Shay Stadium left in stunned silence.
When Ndlovu was put through one-on-one, Drench’s reaction save looked to have spared Town, but the striker’s desire to beat two defenders to the ball was enough to see him poke the ball home and leave the Shaymen a near-mountain to climb and only around 15 minutes to do it. Town couldn’t muster the quality to set up a grandstand finish though, despite King’s effort which was impressively tipped over the bar by Laurie Walker.
Town still threw players forward in an effort to grab at least one goal back, and Matty Kosylo made his comeback from injury from the bench. Brackley could and perhaps should have made it four on the break. David Moyo broke down the right with plenty of support through the middle but Kevin Roberts’s fine last ditch tackle prevented further damage.
An arm injury to Josh Wilde left Halifax down to ten men having used all their substitutions and with Scott McManus a long-term absentee, Billy Heath will be hoping his current left-backs injury is not too serious on a day where Halifax fell to an unexpected home defeat.