Matlock Town 2-2 FC Halifax Town
26th July 2016
The DCJ Group Insurance Arena
FC Halifax Town kept their unbeaten pre-season record intact, as they were held to a draw by lower league side, Matlock Town.
The Shaymen travelled south to the Peak District having claimed the impressive scalps of Football League sides Sheffield United and Morecambe in their last two games.
However, Billy Heath did not take Halifax’s Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division opponents lightly, and fielded a strong starting eleven for Town’s penultimate preseason game.
2015/16 top scorer Jordan Burrow was paired with Tom Denton upfront, and the impressive Matthew Kosylo started on the left.
As a result, it only took three minutes for the strength of the Town side to pay dividends, as Burrow but the Shaymen ahead early on.
Scott Garner lifted the ball towards the bulky Tom Denton, and the target man flicked it through to his strike partner Burrow, who calmly finished past, Matlock stopper, Phil Barnes.
Barnes had played Premier League in the past, deputising for Paddy Kenny during Sheffield United’s spell in the top flight, but could do nothing to stop Burrow’s deft shot.
The away side attempted to build on their early lead, Burrow almost turning a Kevin Roberts corner home, and then threatening to rob the ‘keeper of the ball after the Matlock stopper took too long to clear his lines.
However, on the 13th minute, the home side struck back and equalised, against the run of play.
Dwayne Wiley broke away on the wing, and picked out Marc Newsham with a low drilled cross. The big number nine scrambled it over the line and it was game on for the Gladiators.
The goal acted as a catalyst for Matlock who, in front of a decent home crowd, pushed for the lead.
Town made it through the spell of sustained pressure though, and neither side looked in control as the game approached half time.
Josh Wilde was removed just before the break, walking off the pitch with what appeared to be a slight knock, and replaced by Josh MacDonald.
Billy Heath made a triple sub to freshen up his side for the second period, with Connor Hughes, Jordan Sinnott and Richard Peniket coming on.
These changes looked to have made a difference as Halifax emerged the stronger side after the break. Burrow again had a chance on the edge of the Matlock box, and Josh MacDonald almost found the net with a stinging effort across goal.
Both sides made a host of subs on the hour mark, giving various players a run out, and this lowered the tempo of the match.
Peniket was continuing the fine form he had shown in preseason, and was the creator of Town’s second goal after, 77 minutes.
The big centre forward shrugged off his man, looked up, a played a perfect ball into MacDonald, who confidently found the bottom corner to give the Shaymen the lead.
The away side looked comfortable, and almost put the game beyond reach for Matlock when Peniket again found a teammate in the box, but this time the linesman’s flag denied Halifax a chance.
Town failed to make it three wins out of three though, as Matlock struck back in the 86th minute with Ryan King tapping in from a yard out after the home side got in behind the defence.
Matlock could even have won the game when Ben Partridge had a strike on goal in the games dying minutes.
2-2 it finished though, and the Shaymen remain unbeaten with another good run out before the curtain raiser away at Nuneaton Town, on the 6th August.
Starting XI: Phil Barnes, Liam Marsden, Alex Pursehouse, Perry Cotton, Dwayne Wiley, Nico De Girolano, Ted Cribley. Laurie Wilson, Marc Newsham, Niall McManus, Nicky Travis
Substitutes: Ryan King (53), Jamie Yates (53), Ben Partridge (57), Andy Todd (69), Keenan Layton (75)
Goals: Newsham 13, King 86
Yellow Cards: Jamie Yates (65)
Starting XI: Steve Drench, Cliff Moyo, Josh Wilde, Liam King, Nathan Hotte, Scott Garner, Jake Hibbs, Kevin Roberts, Tom Denton, Jordan Burrow, Matthew Kosylo
Substitutes: Josh Macdonald (39), Jordan Sinnott (45), Connor Hughes (45), Richard Peniket (45), Isaac Baldwin (59), Shiraz Kahn (83)
Goals: Burrow, MacDonald 77
Yellow Cards: Connor Hughes 65
Referee: Alix Pashley
Man of the Match: Jordan Burrow