FC Halifax Town hang on at the death to take a vital point away at challengers Stockport County.
Tom Denton’s first half header gave Halifax the lead going into the break but Scott Duxbury’s equaliser and a late onslaught from County made the draw look a solid point for the away side.
Halifax remain top of the Vanarama National League North.
Stockport started the game the better side but it was Halifax who grew into the game as time went on.
Jordan Sinnott’s early free kick the first effort to threaten the home goal, whistling just over the ball from 30 yards.
It would however be County who came closest in the early phases. Gary Stopforth’s searching cross reached Josh Amis at the back post, who when it looked easier to score, headed upwards and off the cross bar.
The bar was still shaking when, up the other end, Sinnott forced the game’s
first save. Josh MacDonald found himself goal side of left back Duxbury for the first time and pulled it back for Sinnott who could only force his effort straight into the arms of County keeper Ben Hinchcliffe. Halifax’s threat was growing.
Just after the half hour mark and Town had themselves in front. MacDonald again saw nothing before him but grass as he burst toward the corner of the area and pulled back just in time for the arrival of Denton, waiting to force the ball goal bound and in off the post. Town had the lead their growing pressure had deserved.
Cliff Moyo has been a fan favourite amongst Halifax fans in the early season stages and looked solid again today. Despite often seeming rushed with the ball at his feet he was no stranger to a 30-yard up field ball into the run of Josh MacDonald to cause more damage from wide.
Jake Hibbs was back in the starting line-up for this one after featuring from the bench against Worcester. He led the midfield battle in typical Hibbs style and was booked for his force just before half time after a high foul on Lewis Montrose.
Stockport started the second half in the same fashion they had begun the first, only this time they saw themselves rewarded for their strong start. Former Manchester City defender Courtney Meppen-Walters’ stinging volley was a sign of things to come throughout the period.
County had their equaliser just shy of the hour mark. A searching cross from deep found the head of Duxbury at the far post to head in agonising fashion into the far bottom corner. The game was now tied and if the reaction of the home fans was anything to go by there would be more to come.
Sadly, for the 531 travelling Halifax fans the nearest Halifax would come in the second half was a late effort by Sinnott blazed high over the bar after more good work from MacDonald.
As the game came to a close the Hatters twice came close to taking the lead. First substitute Scott Spencer watched as the ball dropped over his head but he could only fire the ball into the side netting.
The close to heartbreak moment for Halifax came in the games 92nd minute. Stopforth fired a late free kick low into the danger zone. Who it hit was anybody’s guess as the ball launched narrowly wide and into the stands just shy of the final whistle.
Despite the draw the Shaymen cling onto top of the league. Halifax will next host Tamworth at the MBi Shay Stadium on Saturday.
Drench; Moyo, Wilde, Robert, Hibbs, Garner, MacDonald, Hotte, Denton, Sinnott, Peniket.
Nicholson; Hughes (89), Kosylo, Burrow (64), Barrows.
Goals: Denton (33)
Yellows: Hibbs, Moyo
Hinchcliffe; Miniham, Duxbury, Mepen-Walters, Clarke, Ross, Stopforth, Montrose, Amis, Marsden, Thomas.
Carney, Ormsum (60), Rule, Spencer (45), Lloyd.
Goals: Duxbury (54)