FC Halifax Town
recovered from a one goal deficit to earn a 1-1 draw against already crowned champions Chester City.
Marc Williams gifted the visitors an early lead as he applied a simple finish past Matt Glennon
Just before the half-time, Alex Johnson
rose highest to flick Sean William’s floated delivery past a stretching John Danby.
But in the closing stages, Town had their keeper Matt Glennon
to thank for securing the points after he pulled off a string of saves to frustrate the visitors.
Neil Aspin recalled six of his first-team regulars prior to this match after resting them in the 2-0 to Altrincham
returned to be reunited with his captains armband, as well as familiar centre-back partner Liam Hogan
, who started his second game in three days.
The Shaymen gave Chester a guard of honour to applaud their impressive campaign before the delayed eight o’clock kick off - caused by various Chester players being caught in traffic.
But there was certainly no signs of sluggishness as the league champions quickly gave the Shaymen a reminder of exactly why they have scored 101 goals when Nathan Jarman crossed expertly to M. Williams, who touched past a routed Matt Glennon
The Champions were exerting their superiority and Sean Williams had to rescue Town when he blocked a goal-bound Tony Gray effort.
The Shaymen did have the ball in the back of the net with their first attack, but Chris Worsley
was adjudged to be offside.
It seemed to give Town confidence as Danny Glover fired a reminder of why Neil Aspin brought him to the Shay with a fearsome drive over the bar.
Next to find his range was Sean Williams, with the midfielder letting fly from 25-yards only to see the shot deflected, and consequently slowed, by Matthew McGinn’s outstretched leg.
But Chester should have made it two when a Danny Williams back-heel fortuitously found it’s way to Anthony Sarcevic, who scuffed it wide.
And he was made to pay moments later when Town drew level as Alex Johnson
flicked home Williams’ swirling free-kick over an un-expectant John Danby.
Town were to have the closest sight on goal of the two, as neither side threatened towards the end of the first-half.
with a snapshot from the edge of the box which saw Danby react quickly and save well.
Town signaled their intent as the second-half began as Matt Pearson, operating unfamiliarly in midfield, danced away from one before drilling his effort over.
, boosted by a run of starts and his early goal, looked lively once more and controlled a cross from Substitute Toulson, before seeing his shot on the turn deflected wide.
But the Shaymen should have gone level as Seddon broke free, latching onto a Williams ball, before squaring his pass across goal just inches too far for the onrushing Johnson.
That was nothing on Chester’s next chance, however, as George Horan unbelievably headed over a sitter when unmarked four yards out.
Regardless, Chester were looking ruthless in attack and Gray nearly pinpointed this as his effort whipped past Glennon’s post.
Glennon then had to save astutely as he watched the flight of a powerful free-kick from McGinn before clutching to his chest.
Jason St Juste
was introduced to give Town an added injection of pace, and the winger was immediately involved as he ran at Wesley Baynes before striking against the back-stanchion.
The Shaymen started to look threatening and a quick succession of corners had Chester scrambling.
As the Shaymen continued the high tempo, St Juste should have put Town ahead when he raced onto a Seddon shot before being smothered by the quick reactions of Danby.
This, however, left them vulnerable to the counter attack and Gray came within inches of a winner when he shimmied his way past Lowe before drilling over the bar.
And three times the Shaymen have Glennon to thank for keeping them level when firstly he saved magnificently to deny M. Williams his second.
Before pulling off a majestic fingertip save to leave Jarman in despair with his right footed drive destined for the bottom corner.
Finally, the stopper claimed the resulting corner at the feet of David Hankin to see Halifax home to a well deserved point.
Goals: Marc Williams (5), Alex Johnson
FC Halifax Town
1. Matt Glennon
2) James Bolton (Toulson, 45) 3) Scott McManus
(Jackson, 45) 4) Liam Hogan
5) Matty Pearson 6) Danny Lowe
(c) 7) Chris Worsley
8) Sean Williams 9) Danny Glover (St Juste, 71) 10) Alex Johnson
11) Gareth Seddon
12) Phil Senior
14) Adam Jackson 15) Josh Messer 16) Ryan Toulson
17) Jason St Juste
1) John Danby 2) Wesley Baynes 3) Matthew McGinn 4) George Horan (c) 5) Dominic Collins 6) Ashley Williams 7) Marc Williams 8) Antony Sarcevic 9) Nathan Jarman 10) Tony Gray 11) Danny Williams
1. Iain Howard 14) Tom Peers 15) David Hankin 16) Sean Miller 17) Martin Fearon