FC Halifax Town stretched their unbeaten run under Jim Harvey to eight matches in all competitions, after sharing the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw against promotion-chasing Lincoln City.
The hosts created a plethora of chances throughout and bossed much of the game, but it was the visitors who took the lead courtesy of a fine strike from Craig Stanley. Shaun Tuton’s 10th goal of the season levelled things up, before Liam Hearn took advantage of a defensive error to restore The Imps’ lead.
Town left it late, but Kingsley James smashed home from close range in the dying embers to ensure his side claimed a hard-fought point. The result sees The Shaymen edge closer to safety as they move above Welling United and up to 21st, just a point off Boreham Wood.
Jim Harvey opted to retain the same starting eleven that convincingly beat Wrexham 2-0 on Monday, and his side, clearly buoyed with confidence following their recent resurgence, started the brighter.
The first chance of the game fell to Town as Kevin Roberts popped up in space on the edge of the area, with his low drive forcing Paul Farman into a smart save. From a corner The Shaymen witnessed an effort cleared off the line, but referee Ian Hussin had already blown his whistle for a foul committed by the home side.
Town shaded the early proceedings as the ever-present Tuton displayed great tenacity working alongside strike partner Jordan Burrow. At the other end, former Shaymen Jack Muldoon provided plenty of threat, teeing up a speculative effort from Imps top scorer Matt Rhead, who fired his first time volley well over the bar.
A deflected cross from Nicky Wroe found Burrow, who did excellently to first control the ball with his chest, and then fire an acrobatic volley towards goal, only to see his effort gathered by Farman.
Lincoln countered down the other end and opened the scoring when a cross from Carlisle loanee Patrick Brough was not dealt with by Town’s defence and found Stanley, who lashed home from 20-yards. Town went in search of an equaliser straight away, with the industrious Tuton nearly finding his way around Farman, who denied the forward with a great block.
Shortly afterwards Lincoln could and perhaps should have doubled their lead when a nice move led to Muldoon blazing over. Bradley Wood crossed low from the right and found Alan Power, who cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Muldoon, but he squandered the opportunity.
A short corner routine was worked well by the away side and caused initial chaos in the Town box, but it somehow evaded everyone, before The Shaymen found an equaliser in the 27th minute through Tuton.
Sam Walker’s endeavour down the left hand side created the opening, before he cut the ball back for Tuton who calmly slotted home his 10th goal of the season with the aid of a slight deflection. What followed was a frantic 15 minute spell where Town threatened to take command of the game, but were left to rue a succession of missed chances.
The first opportunity fell to The Shaymen when Wroe dragged a low effort on the turn narrowly wide. Tuton nearly added a second but his shot was blocked, while Roberts fired wide on the follow up and Farman thwarted Tuton once more. The match settled down somewhat as half time neared, with both sides unable to be separated at the break.
Town fans thought they should have had a penalty moments into the second half as Tuton appeared to be blocked off by two Lincoln defenders as he charged into the box, but Ian Hussin remained unmoved and waved away the subsequent appeals. The Shaymen continued to look dangerous going forward after the interval and could have taken the lead following a period of heavy pressure.
Matty Brown rose highest from a corner but saw his header saved, after a goal bound strike from Roberts had been turned behind. James Bolton tried his luck with an ambitious volley which sailed over, while Brown headed a second effort narrowly wide.
At the other end Lincoln carved out an opening through the dangerous Muldoon, who worked himself into space following a mazy solo run, but could only steer his shot inches wide of Town’s goal.
Tuton cut in from the left and drilled a low effort off target, before Lincoln restored their lead following a blunder from Hamza Bencherif. A misjudged back pass fell at the feet of substitute Liam Hearn, who steamed into the area and rounded Sam Johnson before slotting home in the 69th minute.
The ex-Lincoln defender almost instantly redeemed himself for the mistake, as his powerful header flew just wide. Town, undeterred by the setback, pushed on in the closing stages and following separate chances for James, Wroe and Burrow, the former rescued a deserved equaliser with just a minute to spare.
As the ball bobbled around inside the area James took control and smashed home his ninth goal in all competitions to deny Lincoln victory and preserve Town’s unbeaten record under Jim Harvey.
Man of the Match: Shaun Tuton