FC Halifax Town move into the Skrill Premier League playoffs thanks to a hard fought point against visitors Gateshead, despite throwing away a two goal cushion.
FC Halifax named an unchanged starting line up from the 5-1 victory against Lincoln City. Gateshead had the early pressure, but it was the Shaymen who created the first real chance, Maynard heading just wide from a Marshall free kick.
FC Halifax took the lead after 9 minutes thanks to captain Lee Gregory’s placed finish into the bottom corner after a great ball Gardner.
Gregory made it 2-0 a few minutes later with a neat bit of trickery which left the Gateshead defender for dead. Gregory then cut in onto his weaker left foot and stroked the ball past the stranded Adam Bartlett.
Gregory had the chance to complete his hat-trick after only 29 minutes when he raced onto a great ball by McManus but he dragged his shot wide of the far post under good pressure from Gateshead defender Ben Clark.
Gateshead came close just after the half hour mark when Josh Walker headed wide of Matt Glennon’s goal after James Marwood pulled the strings in the middle of the park.
Glennon was finally called into action when James Marwood had a speculative shot from 25 yards out, Glennon spilled at the first attempt but gathered at the second attempt without any pressure from the Gateshead strikeforce.
A whipped in Gardner free kick caused trouble in the Gateshed penalty box, but Simon Ainge could only head over from 8 yards out.
Jon Worthington replaced Paul Marshall at halftime in the first change for the Shaymen.
Gateshead immediately put Town on the back foot at the start of the second half, James Brown scoring a powerful effort that swerved as it passed the despairing dive of ‘keeper Glennon.
Lee Gregory thought he had scored his and Halifax’s third with a neat finish, however the linesman judged him to be offside, much to the discontent of the home fans.
The Shaymen made their second sub of the afternoon when Reece Gray replaced Dan Gardner just past the 50 minute mark.
A great save low at the feet of Gregory by Bartlett, again denied the prolific striker the opportunity of a hat-trick.
FC Halifax finally got the third goal they deserved when Simon Ainge powered home an excellent corner from Adam Smith.
A string of Gateshead corners put town onto the back foot, but the defence dealt with the pressure and the ball was headed wide of the Halifax goal.
Gateshead’s Craig Baxter got the wrong side of the Town defence and his dangerous cross was eventually put out for a corner which was well dealt with by the Town defence, who turned the clearance into a counter attack which came to nothing.
Gateshead pulled a second goal back thanks to smart finish from sub Marcus Madison, who lifted the ball over the advancing Matt Glennon.
FC Halifax responded immediately by bringing on Joe Ironside in their final sub of the game in place of winger Adam Smith.
Gateshead got a deserved equaliser with 10 minutes to go, James Brown capitalising on some panicky defending from the Shaymen to blast the ball in from close range.
Gateshead kept the pressure coming with a thunderbolt effort from the edge of the area that cannoned off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Halifax nearly nicked all three points late on as Wilson had a sweetly timed shot that went just wide of the Gateshead goal.
A Josh Wilson free kick caused a goal mouth scramble in the Gateshead defence, however, the Shaymen couldn’t work the ball home.
The Gateshead clearance put Halifax straight on the back foot as a strike from the edge of the Halifax box, came back off the cross bar and went out for a throw in.
Halifax had one last free kick, but the Gateshead defence held on, thanks to some brave defending to deny Halifax all three points.
FC Halifax Team: Matt Glennon, Lois Maynard, Scott McManus, Marc Roberts, Simon Ainge, Matty Pearson, Paul Marshall (Jon Worthington), Adam Smith (Joe Ironside), Dan Gardner (Reece Gray), Josh Wilson, Lee Gregory
Subs not used: Phil Senior, Tom Anderson
Gateshead Team: Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, James Curtis, Ben Clark, Phil Turnbull, Liam Hatch, James Brown, Craig Baxter, Josh Walker, James Marwood, John Oster
Subs: Jamie Chandler, Micky Cummins, Rob Ramshaw, Lewis Sirrel, Marcus Madison
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