Goals from Tom Denton and Matty Kosylo gave FC Halifax Town a 2-0 pre-season win over Football League opposition in the form of Rochdale at the MBi Shay Stadium. The visitors probably shaded the opening half, but Town were good value for their win as they came out firing in the second period.
Scott Garner was at his defensive best when he just got his toe to a deflected shot from Brad Inman early on. Without Garner’s intervention, Jordan Williams would have had the simplest of tasks to put the ball into the back of the net. Inman had another shot deflected moments later, and Sam Johnson could only watch in hope as the ball trickled just past his left-hand post.
Rochdale started to apply more pressure after the half hour mark, but despite it being pre-season Halifax were happy to put their bodies on the line. Connor Oliver blocked a thunderous Kitching drive, and David Lynch was his usual self, battling in midfield.
The impressive Oliver showed some fantastic touches in midfield to beat several Rochdale players, but his overly-ambitious shot was pulled low and wide of Josh Lillis’s goal.
New sigining Ben Tomlinson had the ball in the net at one point, but the referee’s assistant had already flagged for offside.
Cliff Moyo had his moments going forward for Town, most notable of which was when his low cross looked like it was destined to be turned into the net, but Liam King couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Town made six changes at half-time, and it seemed to work as they exerted pressure on the Rochdale goal.
Tom Denton scored Town’s opener in the 53rd minute after brilliant work from Josh Macdonald. The winger showed fantastic persistence and strength to get around his man and lay a ball on for Denton, whose left-footed finish may have found a slight deflection before it nestled in the back of the net.
Bohan Dixon lit up the midfield at times during the second half, on one occasion gliding through a number of Rochdale tackles before skewing his shot wide.
Matty Kosylo took advantage of an apparent lull in the Rochdale defence’s concentration, as he latched onto a quickly taken free-kick combination by Dixon and Adam Morgan which split the centre-half and his full-back perfectly. Kosylo took one touch to set the ball, and then slotted confidently past Lillis into the far corner to make it 2-0.
Nathan Hotte had a chance to extend the lead further but his left footed finish was well smothered by Lillis, before Kosylo’s curling effort drifted just over.
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson, 2 Cliff Moyo (off 79′), 3 Josh Wilde (off 46′), 4 Martin Riley (off 46′, on 64′), 5 Matt Brown (off 64′), 6 Scott Garner, 7 Liam King (off 46′), 8 David Lynch (off 46′), 9 Tom Denton (off 71′), 10 Connor Oliver (off 46′), 11 Ben Tomlinson (off 46′, on 71′)
Subs: 12 Josh MacDonald (on 46′), 13 Tom Nicholson, 14 Scott McManus (on 46′), 15 Bohan Dixon (on 46′), 16 Nathan Hotte (on 46′), 17 Matty Kosylo (on 46′), 18 Adam Morgan (on 46′), 19 Ross Barrows (on 79′), 20 Shiraz Khan, 21 Jake Hibbs, 22 Marco Basic
Rochdale: 1 Josh Lillis, 2 Joe Rafferty, 6 Harrison McGahey, 4 Jimmy McNulty, 32 Mark Kitching, 18 Keith Keane, 28 Aaron Morley, 25 Daniel Adshead, 17 Brad Inman, 9 Calvin Andrew, 11 Jordan Williams
Subs: 23 Steve Collis, 40 Ian Henderson, Juwon Hamzat, Louis White, Neil Kemgni-Kuemo, Florian Yonsian, A Trialist
Goals: Denton 53′, Kosylo 66′
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Final score: FC Halifax Town 2-0 Rochdale
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