FC Halifax Town were unfortunate to lose 1-0 at home to Gloucester City in a game that saw Town record their first home loss since late October 2016.
Gloucester midfielder Joe Hanks grabbed the only goal of the game from the penalty spot following a Sam Johnson foul on substitute Zack Kotwica. The ‘keeper had no choice but to bring down the forward after a Matty Brown back pass dropped short and Hanks confidently slotted his penalty home.
Manager Billy Heath was without forward Richard Peniket following his red card at Bradford Park Avenue in the previous fixture, as striker Tom Denton re-entered the fold after his inspired performance on the same day.
Town announced the loan signing of winger Dion Charles from League One outfit Fleetwood just an hour prior to kick-off, and the former AFC Fylde starlet was fast tracked straight into the starting XI.
The home side started the stronger as the first fifteen minutes’ saw winger Matty Kosylo create an abundance of chances for the Shaymen.
First, when Denton flicked on for Danny Clarke, he laid off Kosylo who picked out Charles at the back post. The debutant headed over on that occasion.
Shortly after, Kosylo was creating again in a similar passage of play. This time crossing for lone-striker Denton. His header was straight at the Gloucester captain Singh between the sticks, though.
Gloucester recorded a solitary chance during the opening exchanges when Josh Wilde gave the ball away by the corner flag. Luke Thomas latched onto the loose ball and made his way into the area when midfielder David Lynch heroically put his body in the way of the shot.
On twenty-five minutes, Town had reason to feel aggrieved as referee Glen Hart waved away appeals for a hand ball. Jordan Sinnott’s corner was headed towards goal by Denton but the officials said no, claiming the ball hit the defender’s chest.
Less than five minutes into the second half Halifax lost key man Josh Wilde to a suspected back injury, the left back has played every minute of league action under Heath this season. He was replaced by Cliff Moyo.
The away side put up a much better fight following the interval as Town struggled to keep the high levels of the first half.
Gloucester top goal-scorer Luke Hopper was denied by a tremendous save from Johnson as his header looked destined for the back of the net.
Midfielder Lynch was booked on sixty-five minutes when he left a full-blooded challenge on Gloucester youngster Luke Thomas, tussles followed as the away side pleaded for a red card to no avail.
Like London buses, Town struggled for a breakthrough in the second half but found themselves denied by two terrific stops.
First by goalkeeper Singh who tipped Sinnott’s direct free-kick over his bar for a corner, and then by the Gloucester full back Kieran Thomas who headed Denton’s header away blocking a certain goal as the ‘keeper was well beat.
Gloucester substitute Zack Kotwica made a real impression as he entered the field replacing Joe Parker. The forward latched onto a short Matty Brown back-pass and rounded Johnson only to be brought down by the stretching leg of the Halifax ‘keeper.
Midfielder Joe Hanks stepped up and converted with confidence as his strike was hit with precision into the right hand top corner.
Chasing the game and in need of a goal, Town were reduced to ten men as centre back Brown was forced to leave the field with an injury and with that invited more pressure.
Kotwica broke, beating the substitute Moyo and squaring for Luke Thomas only for his effort to be saved by the feet of Johnson.
Town had one last chance to seal a point when Denton flicked on a long throw from Sinnott into the six-yard area. The striker opted to go with his feet rather than his head and it was stopped magnificently at the far post.
Next up for FC Halifax Town is Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday 21st of March as Billy Heath will look to bounce back at the MBi Shay.
FC Halifax Town:
1. Sam Johnson, 2. Kevin Roberts ©, 3. Josh Wilde (Moyo, 50'), 4. Jordan Sinnott, 5. Scott Garner, 6. Matty Brown, 7. Matty Kosylo, 8. David Lynch (King, 79'), 9. Tom Denton, 10. Dion Charles (Morgan, 63'), 11. Danny Clarke
Subs: 12. Steven Drench, 14. Cliff Moyo, 15. Adam Morgan, 16. Nathan Hotte, 17. Liam King
1. Jasbir Singh ©, 2. Kieran Thomas, 3. Lewis Hall, 4. Jack Deaman, 5. Sam Avery, 6. Ross Finnie, 7 Joe Hanks, 8. Edward Williams, 9. Luke Hopper, 10. Joe Parker (Kotwica, 74'), 11. Luke Thomas (Moseley, 90')
Subs: 12. Zack Kotwica, 14. Reece King, 15. Chris Knowles, 16. Spencer Hamilton, 17. Bobby Moseley
Goals: Hanks 75'
Yellow Cards: Lynch 65', Morgan 86', Roberts 90'
Red Cards: None
Full Time: FC Halifax Town 0 Gloucester City 1