FC Halifax Town
moved one step closer to securing their playoff place as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Harrogate Town
Similar to Tuesday nights trip to Oxford City
, Town fell behind in the first-half as Adam Bolder converted a penalty into the top corner after James Bolton’s handball.
But Bolton rectified this as he equalised for Town. His left footed effort slowly trickled over the line despite Jose Da Veiga’s best efforts to thwart him.
Town pushed for the vital winner that would have secured their playoff place with Lee Gregory
coming closest with a flicked header, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Neil Aspin made two changes to the side that succumbed to a late Oxford City
equaliser on Tuesday night, with Dan Gardner
and Jon Worthington
replacing Liam Needham
and James Knowles.
Harrogate started in a lively fashion as Michael Woods broke through the defence before prodding his effort wide, to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
The early intensity was matched by Halifax and Danny Glover nearly got his first goal for the club as he cut inside David Merris to see his shot saved.
It was a real tit for tat opening encounter, with Halifax arguably coming closest through a skillful mazy run from Gardner, but the finish lacked the same guile.
Halifax’s three-pronged front-line was linking up well with Gardner again offering the most attacking threat as he fired over from 25-yards.
As the game settled, it was Harrogate that looked more likely to break the deadlock. Adam Bolder first tested Glennon with a swirling effort from the left.
And it was he who opened the scoring - converting a penalty after Danny Lowe
was dispossessed and Bolton’s goal-saving block was adjudged to have struck his arm.
Despite Gardner’s best solo efforts - including another dribble a strike wide - Halifax were finding it tough to break through a resolute Harrogate.
But Lee Gregory
should have brought Town level as he headed over a Sean Williams free-kick when left unmarked.
Bolton could count himself lucky the referee was fairly lenient as a dangerous tackle from behind on Kilcok only warranted a yellow card.
And from the resulting free-kick, Harrogate nearly doubled their advantage albeit for an excellent save from Matt Glennon
The teasing delivery from Bolder was headed back across to Woods, who smashed a volleyed effort goal bound, only for Glennon to palm it to safety.
That save was matched for quality by Jose Da Vaiga, who tipped over a outstanding effort from Scott McManus
to the despair of the left-back.
Halifax’s attacking prowess was growing and Chris Worsley
nearly brought the Shaymen level as he struck Gregory’s inviting lay-off narrowly wide.
Williams was the next to go close, as his viscously whipped cross-shot from a free-kick nearly dropped into the bottom corner.
Seddon was introduced at half-time to give the Shaymen an added attacking boost, but much like the first-half, it was Harrogate who were to test the Shaymen goal first.
Daniel Clayton powering his effort inches wide to end a flowing counter attack for the hosts.
The conditions were having a telling effect on the match as the rain thundered down, but it was the wind that nearly helped to bring Town level.
Sean Williams delivering a deep cross into the box, and with the wind behind it the ball very nearly drifted over a stranded Da Veiga.
But it was Bolton who was to bring the Shaymen level. Gregory chested it down in the box for the defender to squeeze a left-footed effort past the keeper - his second in two games.
The attacking threat was all in Halifax’s favour and moments after the equaliser Gardner stooped low to head agonizingly over the bar.
Seddon had gifted Halifax some added pace in attack and some clever thinking from Glennon with a early punt forward very nearly set the striker through once more.
Williams had been perusing the midfield all evening, but was granted a rest as Alex Johnson
was added to the fray, with Worthington also replaced by Knowles.
And the youngster quickly had his first chance, firing into a pack of players to hear the referee’s whistle blown for an earlier foul.
Although operating much more defensively, Harrogate still looked lively on the counter attack and former Shaymen Lee Elam looked clear until some excellent defending from McManus.
With Williams benched, it was Gardner’s turn to take over free-kick duty and twice he whipped in dangerous crosses which Da Veiga gratefully clutched under pressure.
Halifax were enjoying all the pressure in the final third as they dictated the attacking, fast paced tempo as they searched for a winner.
Town’s top-scorer Gregory came heart-wrenchingly close with moments left as he flicked Johnson’s drilled cross inches wide of the far post.
Town will now have to wait for the visit of Guiseley
to the Shay Stadium on Saturday as to whether their playoff fate will be sealed.
FC Halifax Town
1) Matt Glennon
2) James Bolton 3) Scott McManus
4) Jon Worthington
5) Matt Pearson 6) Danny Lowe
© 7) Chris Worsley
8) Sean Williams 9) Danny Glover 10) Dan Gardner
11) Lee Gregory
Subs: 12) Phil Senior
13) Adam Jackson 14) Gareth Seddon
15) Alex Johnson
16) James Knowles
1) Jose Da Veiga 2) Matthew Bloomer 3) David Merris 4) Adam Bolder 5) Alan White 6) Shane Killcok 7) Alex Metcalfe 8) Paul Bolland © 9) Colin Lakin 10) Michael Woods 11) Daniel Clayton.
Subs: 12) Chib Chilaka 14) Craig Radcliffe 15) Jonny Allan 16) Danny Hull 17) Lee Elam