FC Halifax Town played out an exciting 1-1 draw with fellow bright starters Leyton Orient at the MBi Shay Stadium. A Dayle Southwell penalty in the 64th minute was cancelled out by an Orient equaliser in the dying embers from striker James Alabi.
The first chance of the first half came from the visitors in the fourth minute, who are during a three-match unbeaten streak. Forward Josh Koroma found some space on the edge of the area and managed to get away a tame effort which was comfortably collected by Sam Johnson.
Moments later, The Shaymen worked some space down Orient’s right. Matty Kosylo got away a cross cum shot, however like Koroma’s earlier effort was collected by the goalkeeper.
Leyton Orient’s first real chance of the game came in the ninth minute. A James Dayton free kick from the left-hand side was not cleared away properly inside the Halifax box, which fell to Orient defender Marvin Ekpieta around ten yards out, but his effort was narrowly denied.
The visitors came into the game unbeaten in the National League, and their confidence from their good start showed early on, with them taking the game to Halifax. Good link up play between Jodi McAnuff and full back Joe Widdowson on the left-hand side, which was then worked inside towards the two front men Macauley Bonne and Koroma allowed the No.19 to pull off another shot towards the Halifax goal but to no avail.
The Shaymen struggled to gain a foothold throughout the first half, with most attempted passes either finding an Orient player or being played into touch.
Leyton Orient’s good start continued throughout the half, with a couple of chances coming for Bonne. Orient’s top scorer firstly managed to get on the end of a Charlie Lee long throw, but his toe poke only found the hands of Johnson before putting a header over the bar from full back Myles Judd’s cross.
As aforementioned, the home team were struggling to put any kind of offensive play together, perhaps struggling with the wet turf. Their patterns of play were trying to find Jonathan Edwards and use him as a target man and an outlet, however the Orient defence were holding firm.
Another chance came for one of Orient’s forwards in the 37th minute. They managed to break away from an infrequent Halifax attack. McAnuff switched the play from right to left, which skidded along the turf, a ball which Kosylo unsuccessfully attempted to clear. The ball found its way to Dayton who passed the ball into the box towards Koroma, who fired over from ten yards out.
Well worked link up play again between McAnuff and Widdowson down the left-hand side created the final chance of the half. Widdowson fired a ball across goal, which was only inches away from the studs of Koroma.
Despite Orient having the better of the first half, the sides went in level at The Shay.
The two sides came out for the second half unchanged, and Halifax began to show some promise, with some decent play coming from Kosylo.
However, the side placed second in the league at the start of the day began to grow back into the game, again looking to McAnuff to make something happen.
Halifax began to be penned in by the visitors, struggling to deal with Charlie Lee’s long throw ins. However, as seems to be the case with The Shaymen so far this season, their defensive resilience continued to shine through.
However, in the 64th minute, Halifax managed to get out of their box and smashed the ball up field towards the Orient half. The hard working Kosylo persisted with chasing after the loose ball and found himself in the area. He managed to get to the ball first before the Orient defender and was adjudged to be fouled by referee Simon Mather, a penalty for Halifax.
Dayle Southwell, The Shaymen’s top scorer stepped up to take the spot kick and fired the ball down the middle of the goal to put Jamie Fullarton’s side in front.
The visitors will have felt unlucky to go behind in the game, given their dominance of the ball throughout much of the game. They began to get their foot back on the ball and began to work their patterns of play once again.
Once again, crosses in from Widdowson caused problems for the Halifax backline, culminating in a succession of throw ins and corners. But again, The Shaymen’s defence held firm.
Just like the first half, Halifax allowed Orient to have the ball, soak up the pressure and counter attack. The tireless trio of Edwards, Southwell and Kosylo managed to link up and create a chance for Jamie Fullarton’s side. Southwell snuck in at the front post and flicked the ball towards goal which was smothered by Dean Brill in the Orient goal.
To change their fortunes, Leyton Orient boss Justin Edinburgh made a double substitution. Striker James Alabi came on for Dayton while midfielder Craig Clay was replaced by striker Matt Harrold.
As the minutes ticked on, the home side still decided to soak up the pressure, as Orient looked for the equaliser. Jamie Fullarton decided to take off goal scorer Southwell for Niall Maher as Halifax looked to solidify what they had.
It was looking increasingly likely that Halifax were going to be able to wreck the unbeaten record held by Leyton Orient as the fourth official put up his board to signal four minutes of added time.
Another Joe Widdowson cross was put into the Halifax box which found its way across to Alabi, whose side footed effort narrowly beat Johnson to level proceedings.
There was more drama yet, as Halifax kicked off and went looking for the winner. Matty Kosylo had a free kick on the edge of the area which was tipped over by Brill. The following corner was swung towards the back post which found Nathan Clarke, but his header found the side netting.
The final whistle blew, with the score ending 1-1.
The result sees Orient’s unbeaten record maintained but drop down to third place in the table while Halifax drop a place to fifth yet stay unbeaten at home.
The Shaymen are next in action next Saturday when they travel to Maidenhead in the National League.
FC Halifax Town 1 – 1 Leyton Orient
Attendance: 1927 (358 away)
Match Officials: Simon Mather
Assistants: Blake Antrobus/Edward Pidduck
Fourth Official: Lewis Dawson
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