A late own goal denied FC Halifax Town an away win at fellow Yorkshire outfit Harrogate Town, with the final score finishing 2-2.
The first major chance of the game came for the Shaymen after eight minutes. Jerome Binnom-Williams showed great anticipation to pick the pocket of Ryan Fallowfield deep inside the Harrogate half and release an inch perfect cross to the boot of Liam McAlinden, whose glancing touch was pushed away by James Belshaw.
Only a minute later, Jamie Allen linked well with Tobi Sho-Silva on the right hand of the side and were able to lay the ball of to Jeff King, who was clattered into by Harrogate defender Warren Burrell, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. McAlinden was on hand to convert the spot kick, placing his effort confidently to the right of the goal.
The Shaymen’s confidence looked high after the early goal, with long range efforts from Tobi Sho-Silva and King going wide. Harrogate’s best chance in the opening period came when Jack Muldoon was released down the right, but Josh Staunton was able to get to the cross fractionally ahead of the lurking Mark Beck.
The Sulphurites had Belshaw to thank for keeping the score at 0-1 when a sloppy pass from Fallowfield midway inside the Shaymen half fell to McAlinden, who put his pace to good use and carried the ball for half the pitch before releasing an effort which had the Harrogate keeper at full stretch.
The hosts best chance of the half came after half an hour, when Fallowfield’s deep cross from the right was found an unmarked Will Smith, but his header was always rising and went harmlessly over the bar.
The Shaymen went close again after forty minutes- Jeff King was once more brought down on the edge of the Harrogate box by Burrell and the resulting free kick from Charlie Cooper was only narrowly over the bar.
Halifax somewhat gifted a golden opportunity to Harrogate in the opening minute of the second half. Staunton spooned a clearance into the air, which fell to Josh Falkingham inside the box, but Matty Brown was able to recover and head the goalbound effort over the bar.
Simon Weaver’s side equalised on the 54th minute through George Thomson, who latched onto a driven cross across the box at the far post to put Harrogate level.
The Shaymen were unable to dominate the opening periods of the second half as they had done the first, with Belshaw only having to make a straightforward save from a McAlinden’s long range effort.
Thomson had opportunities to double his tally for the night; on the seventy minute mark, his a driven effort from the edge of the box forcing Johnson to make a low save to his left, not long before he put a similar chance a foot or so wide of the post.
The Shaymen soon made him rue those missed opportunities and regained the advantage after seventy-eight minutes. Substitute Cameron King won the ball back on the left hand side and fizzed it across the box to Jamie Allen, who held the ball up well enough to pick King back out in the box, who smashed home from ten yards.
Things looked like they’d gone from bad to worse for Harrogate when Warren Burrell was dismissed for a high challenge on Liam Nolan with two minutes of normal time left to play, though a late pot shot from Beck was on target, and Johnson had to be alert to tip it over the bar.
However, there was a late twist in the tale as ten men of Harrogate were able scramble the ball across the face of goal. It seemingly bounced off a Halifax leg and dropped in the back of the net, rescuing the home side a point in stoppage time.
Harrogate Town: 1 James Belshaw; 2 Ryan Fallowfield; 4 Josh Falkingham (C); 6 Warren Burrell; 7 George Thomson (16 Jon Stead 86); 9 Mark Beck; 18 Jack Muldoon; 20 Connor Hall; 22 Will Smith; 23 Jack Diamond (14 Brendan Kiernan 71); 25 Mitch Hancox
Subs: 8 Jack Emmett; 13 Joe Cracknell; 15 Alex Bradley
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson; 2 Michael Duckworth; 3 Jerome Binnom-Williams; 5 Matty Brown (C); 6 Liam Nolan; 7 Jamie Allen; 11 Tobi Sho-Silva; 14 Josh Staunton; 15 Liam McAlinden (10 Cameron King 67); 20 Jeff King (21 Danny Williams 74); 22 Charlie Cooper (31 Niall Maher 78)
Subs: Will Appleyard; 17 Josh MacDonald
Goals: McAlinden 10′, Thomson 54′ C King 77, OG 90 + 2
Yellow Cards: Burrell 37′, Falkingham 37, J King 60 Cooper 64
Red Cards: Burrell 87
Attendance: 1185 (330 away)
Harrogate Town 2 FC Halifax Town 2
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