The run-up to the league climax was reduced to a two-horse race after FC Halifax Town were knocked out of the running after losing 1-0 to AFC Fylde.
Danny Rowe’s second half strike separated the Shaymen and the Coasters, despite the hosts dominating the majority of the game in terms of chances.
Cliff Moyo was brought into the team to operate in the centre of the park, and Josh MacDonald replaced Dion Charles on the wing, however the first 15 minutes of the game were rather uneventful with both respective defences dealing with any threats they faced.
Bohan Dixon and Dan Bradley looked the most lively and threatening for the visitors, with Josh MacDonald also frustrating Fylde’s left-back Tom Kennedy with his pace and agility.
Halifax had a golden opportunity to take the lead on the 18th minute. Moyo picked up the remnants of an overhit David Lynch cross and attempted to fire the ball across the face of goal for a teammate. Unfortunately there were no Halifax Town players ready to apply the finishing touch. The resulting corner was punched out to Moyo but his first time volley flew wide of the right hand post.
Moyo nearly added his name to the scoresheet once again ten minutes later. The midfielder leapt to the ball in the area after it wasn’t cleared by the Fylde defence, but his attempt skewed wide.
Danny Rowe, who has found the back of the net 42 times this season, nearly had his 43 rd in the first half when he latched onto a spilled ball in the area and unleashed a goalbound shot. However, the defensive blocks of both Kevin Roberts and Nathan Hotte denied the 27-year old.
Fylde found momentum soon after. Andy Bond picked the ball on the left, before weaving his way into the area, skinning Roberts before seeing his angled, curling shot palmed away to safety by Sam Johnson.
The best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute, and it fell Halifax’s way. Jordan Sinnott threaded the ball through the defence to find MacDonald who found himself one-on-one with Rhys Taylor. His shot was struck low, but not good enough to get past the Coasters keeper.
Halifax applied even more pressure early on in the second half. Tom Denton missed a Sinnott corner ball by a few inches before connecting with the ball minutes later. However, his second attempt went wide of the Fylde goal.
The brightest player on the field in the first half, Cliff Moyo was unable to see the rest of the game out, pulling up in the 56th minute, before being replaced by Matty Kosylo, who returned from injury.
The winger nearly made a ‘super-sub’ impact on the 65th minute. Sinnott found the winger on the right-hand side and he set off, jinking his way past Kennedy before letting fly from just inside the area. Despite all the good work in the build-up it was the left post that denied the former Nantwich Town man a goal.
Halifax had another opportunity to break the deadlock five minutes later. A freekick into the area fell to the feet of Hone but he couldn’t get his shot away. A goalmouth scramble ensued with no Halifax players able to find the finishing touch, and came to a halt when Taylor was fouled.
Despite Halifax’s chances, it was Fylde who took the lead in the 72nd minute. Sam Finley showed good feet on the right before drilling the ball into the box towards Danny Rowe. Hone was unable to clear the ball and Rowe did well to turn before finishing past Johnson into the bottom right corner.
Halifax were so close to making an immediate reply when Garner fired the ball across the box, though no Shaymen was on hand to deliver the finishing touch. Déjà vu struck minutes later. Hotte released the ball to Sinnott in the box after good work from Kosylo and the midfielder’s ball towards Peniket somehow went through the forward’s legs as he tried to apply the deft flicked finish.
Halifax’s hopes were kept alive in the 84th minute when Sam Finley received his second booking after late challenge on Josh Wilde. Deep into stoppage time, Adam Morgan nearly found the winner, his first-time strike was hit with the power, but he was unlucky to see it deflected away from goal.
Halifax bombarded the Fylde penalty box with crosses as the eight minutes of stoppage time ran down but it was all in vain. Halifax are now out of the running for the league title, but remain in 3rd. Next up is a trip to Harrogate Town, were the Shaymen can strengthen their grip on the playoffs with three points.
FC Halifax Town: 1. Johnson, 2. Roberts (c), 3. Wilde, 4. Lynch (Morgan, 79’), 5. Garner, 6. Hotte, 7. Moyo (Kosylo,56’), 8. Sinnott, 9. Denton, 10. MacDonald (Hone, 56’), 11. Peniket
Subs: 12. Drench, 14.Charles, 15. Hone, 16. Morgan, 17. Kosylo
AFC Fylde: 1. Taylor, 2. Hughes (Kennedy 87’), 3. Kennedy, 4. Langley (c), 5. Collins, 6. Bond, 7. Morgan (Hughes, 90’), 8. Finley, 9. Rowe (Blinkhorn, 90+3’), 10. Bradley, 11. Dixon
Subs: 12. Daniels, 14. Baker, 15. Hughes, 16. Blinkhorn, 17. Kennedy
Goals: Rowe 72’
Yellow Cards: Finley 73’, Kosylo 78’
Red Cards: Finley 84’
Man of the Match: Nathan Hotte
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