FC Halifax Town’s three-match winning run came to an end as they drew 0-0 with Stockport County at the MBi Shay Stadium, but the result does stretch their unbeaten run to four. Liam King got his first start in several matches as he replaced Danny Clarke in midfield, to make the starting XI the same as the one which started the exhilarating second half against Salford City a week ago,
Even though there were no goals, the second half of the contest was much more exciting than the first as Halifax tried, ultimately in vain, to climb back into the play-off positions. There was a heart in mouth moment for Town fans early in the first half though, as Elliot Osborne’s low cross from the left of the area was almost turned into his own goal by Hotte, but it went just wide of the far post and the resulting corner came to nothing.
Osborne then gave Halifax a chance of their own as he brought the tricky Matty Kosylo down 25 yards from goal. Kosylo himself stepped up to take the free kick but couldn’t recreate his effort at Tamworth as the ball sailed comfortably over Ben Hinchliffe’s bar. David Lynch played Richard Peniket through as Stockport’s defence seemed to have opened, but Chris Smalley came across to clear and leave the Halifax striker rueing a slightly heavy touch.
The closest Town came in the first half was through Adam Morgan’s free kick from fully 30 yards out. His fantastic strike left Hinchliffe grasping at thin air but the ball cruelly cannoned down off the crossbar and was cleared away by County. At the other end of the field, the physical Kayode Odejayi won a free kick which Danny Lloyd took. It took a wicked deflection of the wall but went behind, much to the scrambling Sam Johnson’s relief. Lynch was booked for a late tackle just before half time during a rare foray into the opposition area and the sides went in level after what could be described as a reasonably uneventful first half.
Town won a corner early in the second half after clever work from a short free kick between Daniel Nti and Kosylo, but Peniket’s half-chance from the resulting set piece was never threatening the goal.
Stockport’s fans thought they might have scored the opener when Johnson fumbled in collecting Lloyd’s attempt, but the ball never really threatened to cross the goal line.
Halifax seemed to come out with more intent after the break, and Billy Heath introduced striker Tom Denton just before the hour mark to try and challenge the Stockport back four more. His first action saw him win a high ball with ease but Morgan’s effort from the layoff was high and into the South stand. Nathan Hotte was booked when he pulled down the lively and pacey substitute Kaine Felix, who had replaced Odejayi, but the foul did stifle any danger for the time being after Lloyd’s free kick went just wide of Johnson’s far post.
Matty Kosylo had the best chance of the game when his lifted attempt at a finish went agonisingly wide of the post. From a Stockport corner, Josh Wilde and substitutes Denton and Josh Macdonald had combined to set Morgan away down the left-hand side. His switched ball went past the last defender to the feet of Kosylo, but he couldn’t quite capitalise on it as he left Halifax fans holding their heads in their hands.
Lynch and Wilde played some brilliant passes between each other which left the former in on goal, but his choice to pass, given the tight angle, ended up being the wrong one as no blue shirt was near his pull-back.
Stockport started to sit a lot deeper on the Shay pitch, and Town accepted it as an invitation to attack. In the 90th minute King seized on a defensive error to go through one-on-one with Hinchliffe, but despite rounding the keeper well, his finish, which looked destined for goal, was cleared by a defender just in front of goal to leave the Shaymen a fair share of the spoils and in 7th at the end of the day, just a point outside the play-offs.
FC Halifax Town:1 Sam Johnson, 2 Kevin Roberts ©, 3 Josh Wilde, 4 Liam King, 5 Scott Garner, 6 Nathan Hotte, 7 Matty Kosylo, 8 David Lynch, 9 Daniel Nti (Macdonald 71’), 10 Adam Morgan, 11 Richard Peniket (Denton 60’)
Subs:12 Steven Drench, 14 Jordan Sinnott, 15 Cliff Moyo, 16 Tom Denton, 17 Josh Macdonald
Stockport County:1 Ben Hinchliffe, 2 Sam Minihan, 3 Scott Duxbury, 4 Lewis Montrose, 5 Michael Clarke ©, 6 Chris Smalley, 7 Gary Stopforth, 8 Elliot Osborne, 9 Kayode Odejayi (Felix 60’), 10 Jimmy Ball (Ross 86’), 11 Daniel Lloyd (Brazel 90’)
Subs:12 Mark Ross, 13 Ian Ormson, 14 Harry Brazel, 15 John Marsden, 16 Kaine Felix
Yellow cards:Lynch (43’), Wilde (55’), Stopforth (63’), Kosylo (65’), Hotte (69’)
Attendance:2925 (992 away)
Final Score:FC Halifax Town 0-0 Stockport County
Man of the Match:Kevin Roberts