Daniel Hone’s 2nd half header sent FC Halifax Town into the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup in a fiery 2-1 affair against Stalybridge Celtic.
Former Shaymen Keil O’Brien cancelled out Josh Wilde’s first goal for the club in a dominate opening 45 minutes for Halifax, however the cup tie took a negative twist following the equaliser, becoming very ‘stop-start’ with several heavy challenges causing temperatures to rise.
Town started the game strong - Kevin Roberts and Josh Macdonald continued to build on their partnership from last week due to the continued absence of Cliff Moyo.
Stalybridge had limited chances in the opening 45 minutes, the best falling to Andy Owens but the striker’s outstretched foot couldn’t make the vital connection needed to direct a driven cross goalwards at the near post.
Tom Denton, who returned to the scoresheet last time out, had the best chance to break the deadlock in the opening 20 minutes.
The striker found himself in acres of space at the back post from Sinnott’s delivery but his header was well saved by Tony McMillan.
Denton caused problems in the air moments later and was on hand to provide the assist for the opening goal of the game.
His chest down was perfect for Wilde, who found himself in Celtic’s box and the left back fired home from 15 yards to score his first competitive goal for the club.
It could have 2-0 for Town moments later - Kevin Roberts put in a terrific driven ball, which was crying out for a tap in, however Denton and Simmons were late to react and the ball sailed past them.
Celtic’s equaliser surprised many inside the MBI Shay just 10 minutes after taking the lead but the quality of the opposition goal must be applauded.
Daniel Pilkington whipped in a vicious free-kick from the left and former Shaymen Keil O’Brien beat his marker to glance home his header into the bottom left corner which left Drench rooted to the spot.
The equaliser sparked a confrontational period between the two sides heading into half time. Temperatures boiled over after Shaymen supporters were left displeased with referee Paul Marsden’s decision to only award Gary Gee a yellow card for what appeared to be an elbow on David Lynch. The midfielder was in some discomfort and was replaced by Nathan Hotte.
The ref struggled to control the players, with several losing their cool. Andy Owens was placed into the referee’s notebook for a swipe on Daniel Hone as the pair went up for a header.
Confrontations continued between the pair as the second half commenced with many supporters calling for Owens to have a second yellow after a case of theatrics.
The striker however almost silenced the home crowd on the hour mark but saw his curling effort fly wide of the top corner.
The game quietened down considerably in the second half up until the deciding goal in the 76th minute. A free kick right was awarded on Simmons and Town regained their lead through Daniel Hone.
Sinnott’s delivery was chipped in towards Denton but the striker couldn’t climb to connect with it- Hone luckily followed in behind and dived low to head past the keeper in front of goal.
The Shaymen almost put the tie to bed but Kiel O’Brien denied Denton from connecting with Sinnott’s delivery from the left a few minutes later.
Stalybridge were awarded a dangerous free kick in the closing stages of stoppage time but substitute Aidan Chippendale struck the wall as Sinnott struck the post via a bizarre cross down the other end.
The final whistle was met with relief for Town supporters, with the Shaymen just one victory away from the 1st round of the historic cup.
FC Halifax Town: Drench (GK), Roberts, Wilde, King (c), Hone, Garner, MacDonald (Burrow 81), Lynch (Hotte 39), Denton, Sinnott, Simmons.
Subs Not Used: Nicholson, Moyo, Hibbs, Hughes, Barrows.
Stalybridge Celtic: McMillan, O'Brien, Wisdom, Gorton (Ryan 27), Hughes, Chalmers, McKnight (Summerskill 61), Gee, Owens, Tames, Pilkington (Chippendale 78).
Subs Not Used: Bagshaw, Tattum, Platt, Halford.
Goals: Wilde 23, O'Brien 31, Hone 76
Yellow Cards: Gee 38, Hughes 41, Owens 45, Denton 49, Chalmers 65
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 964 (71 away)