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Match Report


Posted Mon 29 Apr 13 at 12:30 PM

Town Book Playoff Final Place....

A performance of real class saw FC Halifax Town book their place in the final of the Blue Square Bet North Playoffs with a 2-0 victory over Guiseley.

After three successive draws this season, the Shaymen never looked like not winning this one and drew first blood through as Alex Johnson fired home.

Lee Gregory then sparked the celebrations as he produced a superb solo effort, fending off three challenges before curling into the top corner.

There was scares for Town however, when James Walshaw missed an open goal and Matt Glennon produced a wonder save from point blank - seeing Town into the final.

Neil Aspin made one change to the side that drew 1-1 at the Shay on Tuesday night, bringing in Liam Needham for the injured Chris Worsley.

The Shaymen set up in the same formation as the first-leg, with Matt Pearson retaining his place in midfield after an impressive display four days ago.

Nerves were stretched in the early sparring, with neither side settling in possession and putting their emphasis on the game.

The earliest scare come from Guiseley as they delivered a dangerous corner before it dropped to Tuesday’s goal scorer, Danny Ellis.

But from then, Town flexed their brawn. Liam Hogan coming within inches of giving the Shaymen the lead as he saw his header cleared off the line by former Shaymen Aaron Hardy.

The pressure continued and Halifax fans took a breath of expectation as a Sean Williams corner was played to Dan Gardner on the edge of the box, but he drilled wide.

Aspin’s decision to keep Pearson in the midfield was looking an astute one when he battled hard before coming close for the visitors.

And defender Ryan Toulson, playing against his former club, was the next to come closest as he whistled a right footed drive past the post.

After this spell of dominance, Town were caught on the counter and were lucky not to go down to ten when Liam Hogan pulled down Josh Wilson with the striker bearing down on goal.

Gavin Rothery was then unlucky not to put the hosts in front when he skipped inside Danny Lowe before firing at Glennon.

Halifax looked to apply some late pressure, but the referee soon drew a close to a tense and inseparable first-half.

The two teams continued to look on par as they emerged once more, but it wasn’t long until Town looked to force an advantage.

After a few minor chances, it was youngster Johnson who found the first. Matt Pearson being set free on the right before cutting it back to the striker who found the top corner to cause pandemonium amongst the thousand strong traveling fans.

Halifax continued to look rampant and Johnson nearly made it two moments later when he fired Gardner’s delivery over the bar.

And they should have doubled their advantage when Lee Gregory latched on to a long pass before an expert hand from Steve Drench thwarted him.

The Lions looked tamed, but Halifax couldn’t find that killer second as Gardner got the ball stuck underneath his feet with the goal at his mercy.

Gregory, Town’s top-scorer with twenty this term, was next to test Drench as he headed just over from eight yards.

However, Guiseley continued to look dangerous on the counter and came extremely close when Walshaw’s effort deflected wide to the sound of a huge gasp from both sets of supporters.

But it was Town who were to find the decisive second. Gregory persisted through a number of challenges before pearling one into the top corner from 18-yards.

Still celebrating, Halifax were nearly caught flat footed when Hardy broke forward. He squared to Walshaw, who planted his effort wide with an open goal gaping.

Halifax were still looking nervous on the defensive and had a combination of Ryan Toulson and Glennon to thank for keeping their noses in front.

First Toulson cleared off-the-line, and then from the resulting melee, Glennon pulled off an almighty close range save before Pearson hoofed into touch.

There was one last chance for Gregory to put the result beyond all doubt when he skipped past Ellis before testing Drench.

Guiseley attemped to quickly restart, but Town quickly won the ball back to the sound of the referee’s whistle.

Goals:Alex Johnson (52), Lee Gregory (80)


1.Drench, 2.Hardy, 3.Meynell, 4.A Pearson, 5.Ellis, 6. Wilson, 7. Rea, 8. Holdsworth, 9. Wilson, 10.Walshaw, 11.Rothery. SUBS: 12 Mark Bower 14. Jake Lawlor 15. Seb Carole 16. Phil Marsh 18. Jacob Giles

FC Halifax Town

Glennon, 2 Toulson, 3 McManus, 4 Hogan, 5 Pearson, 6 Lowe, 7 Needham, 8 Williams, 9 Johnson, 10 Gardner, 11 Gregory Subs: 12 Phil Senior, 14 Worthington, 15 Gareth Seddon, 16 James Bolton, 19 Adriano Moke

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