There have only been two meetings between FC Halifax Town and Darlington since both clubs reformed, and both came in the space of six days during our season in the National League North in 2016/17. Unfortunately, Town were unable to gain victory in either game, but both provided excitement for the neutral with a 3-2 defeat and a 2-2 draw. We look back at these games.
On Boxing Day 2016, Halifax travelled to the North East for their clash with Darlington. It was Darlington who were celebrating at the end of the game as they claimed the victory. This match was the first to be played in the new ground, Blackwell Meadows with the Quakers having spent a spell playing out of town at Bishop Auckland and the first goal came after nine minutes. Tom Denton was caught out from a Terry Galbraith cross as his defensive header was mistimed and landed to Mark Beck at the back who was unmarked to tap home his tenth goal of the season. Despite several good saves from the home goalkeeper he left the field at half-time sparing his blushes after gifting Adam Morgan his first goal for the club. Morgan’s effort from the edge of the box was struck well but straight at Jameson, however the keeper spilled and could only watch the ball drop into the goal.
In the second half Town inside ten minutes again. Beck struck his second of the afternoon on 50 minutes, pouncing onto Galbraith’s low delivery before controlling and slotting it past Drench into the far-right corner from close-range. Darlington piled on the pressure and added a third five minutes later. Town failed to clear their lines from a free kick on the right and Josh Gillies made sure to punish them with an emphatic finish from just outside the box that found the bottom corner. The final seconds of the game saw another bizarre lapse in concentration from Jameson. Morgan attempted to chip the keeper from just outside the box- the keeper scrambled to collect the ball, fell into the goal and in turn brought the ball with him. The keeper threw the ball out of the goal before he hit the ground, but the linesman was aware it had crossed the line. Unfortunately, there was no time to create an opportunity to snatch a point, meaning the result puts Halifax Town six points adrift of the play-off positions with two games in hand.
Less than a week later, the two teams went head to head again, this time at the Shay were Town could only salvage a point. Darlington got the first goal on 22 minutes when forward Josh Gillies put his low effort past Sam Johnson. Having scored on his debut Adam Morgan doubled his tally for the club in the first half of this tie.
20 minutes into the second half, Adam Morgan doubled his tally for the game when the forward and second half substitute Matty Kosylo broke on the counterattack. The ball was cleared from a Darlington corner, Morgan played Kosylo through, the winger then returned the ball and the striker hit it from all of twenty-five yards. Darlo keeper Jameson will be disappointed with his attempt but Morgan’s shot found his right hand top corner nonetheless. Just four minutes later, Darlington cancelled out FC Halifax’s 2-1 lead via a goal from captain Kevin Burgess.
Despite being unable to beat Darlington in either game that season, the Shaymen sealed promotion in the play-off final later that season.
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