FC Halifax Town were left frustrated as they played out a goalless draw with promotion rivals Brackley Town at The Shay this afternoon.
Despite having the better of the chances the Shaymen couldn’t find the breakthrough against a physical, but unadventurous Brackley side.
The best chances came at the death with Lee Gregory and Gareth Seddon being thwarted by away stopper Billy Turley, as both sides remained in the play-offs positions.
It was Halifax who had started with the greater emphasis, as Matt Pearson headed the first chance of the game over the bar from a Dan Gardner delivery.
Two minutes later however it looked for all the world that Brackley had taken the lead when Tom Winters’ free-kick bent around the wall, but narrowly wide.
After that it was one-way traffic in terms of chances for the hosts, firstly Gardner held off a number of challenges before dragging his effort narrowly wide.
Gregory, who had scored seven goals in his last three home games, was next to try his luck but also shot wide, before Liam Needham was left frustrated as his header sailed well off target.
With a bit more luck the midfielder would have broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. However he couldn’t convert Gregory’s centre, before Alex Titchiner’s overhead kick flew over the bar after the mêlée that followed.
At the other end, Pearson had to be aware to deny Marvin Robinson soon after, sliding in to holt a rare Brackley attack as the visitors tried to slow down play whenever possible.
The Shaymen continued to be frustrated as the half ebbed away. Titchiner did muster up an attempt on goal which flashed across the six-yard box, before Gardner teed up to Danny Lowe to fire a free-kick wide, as the referee called a halt to an uneventful half.
Half time: FC Halifax Town 0-0 Brackley Town
Like in the first half, Town made the better start after the break and when Titchiner was fouled, Gregory fired the free-kick narrowly over.
Soon after Gardner’s corner fell nicely to Titchiner in the penalty area, however the striker’s effort was blocked as Brackley put their bodies on the line.
On the hour mark Neil Aspin opted for a change of style as Jason St Juste and Adriano Moke entered the action, with Chris Worsley and Titchiner making way, meaning Halifax turned to 4-4-2.
The rapidly dropping sun was beginning to work to the advantage of the Shaymen, as Gregory flashed an effort wide of the mark soon after.
The pressure continued on Brackley’s goal, Gardner’s effort was deflected wide as Moke and St Juste began to influence proceedings for the better.
As the game rumbled on the Saints’ leading goal scorer Steve Diggin, who surprisingly started on the bench, headed into the arms of Matty Glennon.
Then Ryan Toulson’s right wing cross was headed away for a corner, with Needham inches away from making contact.
With five minutes remaining Aspin introduced Gareth Seddon, with the striker replacing Gardner, who had a frustrating afternoon.
The hosts were close to a winner with a minute remaining, a fine bit of skill from Needham set up Seddon, who prodded at Billy Turley.
More drama was to follow, as the board went up for three minutes added time Gregory was sent through, but was thwarted by Turley.
From the resulting corner, a goal mouth scramble followed before Pearson fired wide from close range.
The chances continued to fall deep into injury time as Moke squared for Seddon, but his bicycle kick went straight at Turley.
Unfortunately the Shaymen couldn’t force that late goal for a dramatic win, and had to settle for a point against their promotion rivals and remain fourth.
Full time: FC Halifax Town 0-0 Brackley Town