A second half goal from Dale Johnson was enough for FC Halifax Town to come away from Cambridgeshire with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Histon – despite midfielder Jason Jarrett being sent off in stoppage time.
Johnson continued his impressive goal-scoring form by tapping home the winner five minutes after the break following a Lee Gregory cut-back.
The win means Town cement their place in the play-off positions and are breathing down the necks of the chasing pack.
Town pushed forward from the first whistle and created the first chance on five minutes.
Jason St Juste got to the by-line and delivered a low cross to the near post which was flicked towards goal by Lee Gregory. The ball landed at the feet of striker Dale Johnson in the middle of the goal but Johnson couldn’t connect properly from six yards, side-footing the ball agonisingly wide.
Just two minutes later, the home side had their first sight of goal.
Junior Konadu-Yiadom sent Saul Otobo through on goal but the striker appeared to stand on the ball and lose his balance. A big let off for the Shaymen.
Next, Pearson Mwanyongo then managed to get the wrong side of Liam Hogan but could not connect properly with the ball with just Matt Glennon to beat.
The game settled down mid-way through the half with Town having good possession and a couple of Paul Marshall corners caused havoc in the Histon box.
An excellent piece of skill in midfield then created the next opportunity for The Stutes.
Mwanyongo flicked the ball around Jarrett in midfield and chipped an accurate pass over the top of the Town defence. Otobo raced clear again but it was an unconvincing finish to the relief of
Glennon who dived on the ball at the second attempt.
Just after the half hour mark, Johnson managed to get a left-footed half-volley shot at goal on the angle which Joe Mellings managed to push away to safety. This followed quick thinking from
Glennon who punted clear with a goal-kick, and from Gregory who took a quick throw.
The home side then rattled the cross-bar on 35 minutes.
Grant Roberts crossed from the right and after Hogan and Danny Lowe both threw their bodies in the away of goal-bound efforts and St Juste hooked one off the line, Histon striker James Stevenson struck the bar from six yards out. The ball bounced down on the line and was then cleared to safety.
Just before half-time, Histon had one last chance but found themselves frustrated once again.
Stevenson this time was the creator, Otobo beat the offside trap and after watching the ball drop over his shoulder, the ball wouldn’t come down in time to get a shot at goal.
Neil Aspin’s team saw the one minute added time out with the score 0-0 at the break.
With Aspin’s instructions no doubt still clear in their minds, Town came racing out of the blocks and took the lead on 50 minutes.
Lee Gregory found space down the right hand-side of the box and put the ball on a plate for the on-rushing Dale Johnson to tap home and put the Shaymen one goal to the good.
Unfortunately, the goal was Johnson’s last contribution after picking up a knock causing him to be replaced by Osebi Abidaki
It was the pace of the Histon attack that was causing problems in the first half but the introduction of Abidaki now had the home defence worried in the second, winning a couple of corners and free-kicks in succession.
The referee, Richard Kendall, appeared to be the villain for both sets of supporters, with included pulling back a quick Town free-kick and then booking Paul Marshall and St Juste to the annoyance of Aspin and the bemusement of the home fans.
Following a Histon corner which was scrambled away, Town should have doubled their lead
Lee Gregory released lively Abidaki down the right channel and bustling his way past Harri Hawkins, the striker opted to shoot with the outside of his right foot when squaring the ball to Paul
Marshall for what would have been a simple tap-in appeared to be the easier option.
Mellings got fingertips to the weak effort with Marshall unable to bundle home at the far post.
Chris Worsley was then replaced by Simon Hackney with 15 minutes remaining.
Following Town’s failure to give themselves some breathing space, Histon nearly made them pay.
Konadu-Yiadom blazed the ball over bar from ten yards after Stevenson pulled the ball back into space with the Shaymen defence stretched.
With 85 minutes on the clock, defender Zak Mills hooked inches wide with a left foot volley from the penalty spot after Lowe headed away a corner.
The away supporters had their hearts in their mouth as the ball looked destined to nestle in the corner of the net.
The four minutes of added time did not pass by without controversy however as Jarrett was sent off for an off the ball incident.
Histon piled men forward for a corner but the Shaymen stood firm to collect maximum points.