FC Halifax Town kept their play-off hopes alive after Adam Morgan’s strike completed the comeback in a difficult 2-1 victory to Gainsborough Trinity.
Referee Mark Underwood’s full-time whistle was greeted with huge relief around the MBi Shay, as all the signs were pointing to Town dropping more points in the play-off hunt with ten minutes to go.
Adam Morgan’s late strike- his ninth for the club, means the Shaymen retain their place in the play-offs, but it could have been a different story tonight.
It was looking a similar game to which we saw on Saturday- Town dominating proceedings but lacking the killer instinct to put the game to bed.
Once again, the bottom sides of the National League North are proving to be a hindrance – with Town dropping points against six of the bottom eight.
Against opposition who’ve failed to keep a clean sheet all season, anything other than three points would have been a damaging read this evening for supporters.
The opening twenty minutes showed signs of a resurgence from the squad following the shock defeat against Gloucester on Saturday.
Several chances came and went for Town inside the opening twenty minutes, mostly centred around the wide-men Matty Kosylo and new signing Dion Charles.
The on-loan Fleetwood midfielder looked more comfortable with his team mates as he occupied the left wing once again. He appeared to flourish in this role and had two wonderful opportunities to break his duck for the club inside the opening twenty minutes.
The best of the chances came on the 15th minute mark – when Charles’ half-volley on the edge looked to be sailing high into the North Stand on initial assessment, however his short-caught George Willis and many inside the stadium off guard as it clattered against the cross-bar.
Despite the pressure, Town put Gainsborough’s defence under, the home side were punished in the blink of an eye via a quick Gainsborough counter-attack.
Ashley Worsfold burst down the right wing before cutting a neat ball across the box for Jordan Thewlis to slot home at the near post in the first attack for the visitors. There was a feeling of Deja-vu in the air; Halifax lacking the clinical edge and the visitors needing limited opportunities to get on the score-board.
Things got worse for the Shaymen as the half-time whistle beckoned with the loss of Matty Kosylo through a suspected hamstring injury. The winger was in full flow before suddenly pulling up violently. Plenty of concern was felt around the press-bench as the in-form winger was replaced by Adam Morgan.
The half-time team talk appeared to make all the difference however as our wait for a goal at home (4 ½ hours) came to an end just six minutes into the restart courtesy of an own-goal from defender Chris Salt.
The announcer awarded it to Danny Clarke, however the midfielder looked embarrassed to be claiming the equaliser as it was clearly nodded home by the Gainsborough defender. Not the best thing to do on your debut.
From there the attacks once again came from the home-side. Jordan Sinnott’s effort looked to be heading towards goal but was blocked comically by teammate David Lynch on the hour mark. The midfielder had several efforts from distance tonight but didn’t test the Gainsborough keeper.
There were strong appeals for a penalty on Tom Denton from the South stand, who felt the striker was pulled down by Ioan Evans in the penalty area but was waved away by the officials.
It was almost a repeat of an away side scoring against the run of play, as Gainsborough caused a moment of panic at the other end with 15 minutes to go. Salt’s driven ball across goal created a goal-mouth scramble which was eventually cleared by Nathan Hotte.
Moments later another scrappy affair took place, with Tom Denton being put into the book following a swipe on the keeper after the ball had stopped dead in the box.
The groans turned into cheers with nine minutes remaining as Adam Morgan bundled the ball over the line at the second time of asking. Roberts’ cross was initially cleared by Trinity; however, they were unable to deal with the follow-up delivery, which found the head of Denton who knocked it down neatly for Morgan to finish.
His initial shot from close-range was saved well by Willis but could only watch the former Curzon Ashton striker bag his ninth goal for the club.
It would be wise to suggest it could have been a different score-line tonight, but it highlights how quickly football can change.
The Shaymen remain in the play-offs, three points adrift of third with a game in hand.
FC Halifax Town: 1 S.Johnson, 2 K.Roberts (c), 3 J.Wilde, 4 J.Sinnott, 5 S.Garner, 6 N.Hotte, 7 M.Kosylo, 8 D.Lynch, 9 T.Denton, 10 D.Charles, 11 D.Clarke
Subs: 12 S.Drench, 14 L.King, 15 D.Hone, 16 A.Morgan (23′), 17 C.Moyo
Gainsborough Trinity: 1 G.Willis, 2 M.Jacklin, 3 C.Salt, 4 C.Nyoni, 5 M.Wilson, 6 I.Evans, 7 D.Bailey-King, 8 G.Tempest, 9 A.Worsfold, 10 J.Thewlis, 11 C.Chippendale
Subs: 12 A.Wiles (68′), 14 N.Jarman (85′), 15 C.Chilaka, 16 B.Beatson, 17 J.McGovern (68′).
Goals: Jordan Thewlis (Gainsborough), Chris Salt O.G. (Halifax), Adam Morgan (Halifax)
Yellow Cards: Michael Jacklin (Gainsborough), Matty Kosylo (Halifax), Nathan Hotte (Halifax), Tom Denton (Halifax), Adam Morgan (Halifax).
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 1403 (46 away)
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