FC Halifax Town came away from the Racecourse Ground with a brilliant point today as they held the league leaders, Wrexham AFC to a 1-1 draw.
Both goals came in an eventful first half and neither side could add to their tally after the break. Scott Garner was the unlikely goal scorer for Town as he cancelled out Scott Boden’s 19th minute opener. Paul Rutherford was sent off for the Dragons in the second half after receiving two yellow cards.
Rutherford’s dismissal may not be the only talking point from the clash, but it was certainly unusual. With 83 minutes played, Wrexham appeared to be making a change, bringing on Jack Mackreth for Rutherford. However, once the substitute had come onto the pitch, the referee indicated that he had in fact sent Rutherford off for two yellow cards and Mackreth was told to return to the side-lines.
Sam Johnson was in action early on for the Shaymen as Chris Holroyd was at the forefront of a Wrexham counter attack. The striker cut in from the left side, but Johnson pulled off a brilliant save to keep the scores level.
The dangerous looking Boden broke the deadlock when he found himself unmarked in the Town penalty area and with a free header. He connected well and fired the ball into the bottom corner, leaving Johnson with no chance.
The Shaymen looked positive once they had fallen behind and there was a clear step up in tempo. Matty Kosylo had an opportunity to trouble Chris Dunn in the Wrexham goal as he picked up the ball just outside the penalty area and shifted it onto his right foot. He released a powerful effort but couldn’t find a corner and Dunn pushed the ball well away from his goal.
Town seemed unable to sustain any meaningful pressure and The Dragon’s had chances to double their lead. The most notable opportunity looked to come from another Wrexham counter attack. This time however, the Town players killed the threat as Holroyd was beaten in the air leaving the ball to fall kindly into Johnson’s arms.
The game was changed just before half time when Garner lunged to turn the ball into the Wrexham goal. Following a short corner, the ball came into the area and Matty Brown managed to head the ball goal wards before his centre-back companion sealed the goal with his right boot.
Large parts of the second half were much less action-packed than the first 45 minutes. However, things did pick up towards the end of the match with both sides having chances to take the full three points.
Tom Denton had the best of Town’s chances in the second-half and could have bagged a brace on another day. Substitute, Michael Duckworth whipped in a lovely cross which the target man met with a diving header only to see his effort drift just over the bar.
Another golden opportunity fell to Denton on the 79-minute mark when he gambled on a delightful cross from Michael Collins. The forward dived threw himself into the six-yard box and got his foot to the ball but could only put his strike over the crossbar whilst under pressure from an advancing goalkeeper.
The home side put a lot of pressure on the solid Town back-line towards the end of the match and former Halifax player, Kevin Roberts almost found the net with a curled effort with less than 20-minutes to go.
Johnson, in the Two goal, performed to a high standard once again this afternoon, keeping the visitors in the match on numerous occasions. Perhaps his biggest save came just nine minutes from the end of normal time when he got down superbly to his right to save Scott Quigley’s deflected shot.
Overall, it was a solid performance from the Shaymen and it was positive to see such a resilient side following some disappointing results in the league of late.
Wrexham: 1 Chris Dunn, 18 Kevin Roberts, 4 Manny Smith, 5 Shaun Pearson, 3 James Jennings, 14 Paul Rutherford, 8 Sam Wedgebury, 16 Marcus Kelly, 11 Nicky Deverdics ( Scott Quigley 59), 10 Chris Holroyd, 19 Scott Boden (12 Jonathan Franks 81)
Subs: 17 Christian Dibble, 6 David Raven, 7 Jack Mackreth
Town: 1 Sam Johnson, 2 Cliff Moyo, 5 Matthew Brown ©, 6 Scott Garner, 7 Matty Kosylo, 9 Tom Denton, 10 Connor Oliver, (18 Danny Clarke 90) 11 Scott McManus (39 Michael Duckworth 49) 15 Josh MacDonald (34 Shaun Tuton 72(, 20 Jake Hibbs, 22 Michael Collins
Subs: 13 Tom Nicholson, 8 Nathan Hotte
Goals: Boden 18, Garner 45
Yellow Cards: Rutherford 45, Moyo 66
Red Cards: Rutherford 82
Attendance: 4998 (248 away)
Wrexham 1 FC Halifax Town 1
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