FC Halifax Town fell to a 2-1 defeat against Yorkshire rivals Harrogate Town at The Shay Stadium in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying round.
Despite going in a goal down at the break, after Harrogate’s Mark Beck benefitted from a lucky bounce of the ball in the six-yard box, Town came out firing in the second half.
Niall Maher equalised less than a minute after the restart as Town flooded forward time and again in droves.
However, as the game approached the hour-mark, Beck found himself at the near post and in a position to nick a second for the visitors, ultimately snatching the win.
The first chance of the game came for the Shaymen as the returning Maher played through Tobi Sho-Silva out wide. He shimmied off Harrogate defender William Smith with strength, but his effort saved by James Belshaw.
Harrogate took the lead early on. On eight minutes a whipped cross from the right flew off the head of Liam Nolan towards his own goal. Sam Johnson produced a terrific acrobatic save to push onto the bar, but the ball fell kindly for Beck to chip home.
Things didn’t quite work for Town when it mattered in the first-half, as Harrogate’s following revelled in their lead.
The Shaymen did go very close to equalising in the first 45, with the best chance of the half falling to Jerome Binnom-Williams. Charlie Cooper whipped in a corner and found Binnom-Williams around four yards out but the left-back couldn’t quite direct his header on target; what perhaps should have been an equaliser flew just over the bar.
Harrogate nearly made it two before the break. As Jack Diamond ran at Town’s defence, he guided the ball onto his left and released a low drive at Johnson, who saved well with his feet. The ball fell to Josh Falkingham on the edge of area but he skied his effort over the bar.
The Shaymen came out of the blocks with intent in the second half, scoring straight from kick-off. McAlinden was found out wide, where he drove a low cross into the box, which missed Sho-Silva and found its way to the left-foot of Maher, who passed the ball into the net to score his second goal of the season, in his first start back from injury.
Looking like a different team, Town fired forward in the hunt for the lead.
Two minutes after the goal and Town could have been ahead. A Dayle Southwell volley was blocked and sent out for a corner. The corner was whipped in and found the head of Liam Nolan in a similar position to Binnom-Williams in the first-half. He headed wide and the scores remained level.
Straight after that chance, we pushed on again, looking desperate to get into the lead. A vicious effort from Binnom-Williams went inches wide after striking from around 25 yards.
On 54 minutes, Harrogate went back into the lead. A throw-in from Ryan Fallowfield found Jack Muldoon, who dribbled into the box, and found Beck at the near post with a short pass. The big frontman took a touch and managed to squeeze the ball past Johnson to give the visitors the lead.
Like the majority of the game up until that point, the Shaymen controlled possession, but Harrogate stood firm, ultimately managing to see out the rest of the match.
FC Halifax Town
1 Sam Johnson, 2 Michael Duckworth, 3 Jerome Binnom-Williams, 4 Nathan Clarke ©. 6 Liam Nolan, 9 Dayle Southwell (7 Jamie Allen 68), 11 Tobi Sho-Silva, 14 Josh Staunton, 15 Liam McAlinden, 22 Charlie Cooper (20 Jeff King 77), 31 Niall Maher (8 Jack Earing 79)
Subs (not used): 12 Will Appleyard, 16 Jacob Hanson
Harrogate Town: 1 James Belshaw, 2 Ryan Fallowfield, 3 George Smith, 4 Josh Falkingham ©, 6 Warren Burrell, 9 Mark Beck, 14 Brendan Kiernan (7 George Thomson 80), 18 Jack Muldoon (16 Jon Stead 85), 20 Connor Hall, 22 William Smith, 23 Jack Diamond
Subs (not used): 8 Jack Emmett, 12 Matthew Taylor, 13 Joe Cracknell, 15 Alex Bradley, 21 Scott Brown
FC Halifax Town 1 Harrogate Town 2
Goals: Beck 8, 54 Maher 46
Yellow Cards: Burrell 32″ Fallowfield 59, King 83, Thomson 90, Diamond 90
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 1241 (228)
Referee: Andrew Miller
Assistants: Elliott Heward & Matthew Sowerby
Fourth official: Joseph Goodwin
Town are back in Vanarama National League action next Saturday (15:00 kick-off) as they travel south the face Bromley.
Read more posts by Jake Broderick