FC Halifax Town secured progression to the second round of the FA Trophy after a 1-0 victory over Macclesfield Town, with Matty Kosylo scoring his first goal in four months for the Shaymen.
Kosylo’s first-half header was enough to secure Halifax the victory in this twice rescheduled clash as they booked a fixture against Maidenhead United this Saturday in the next round and knocked out the 2017 finalists.
Victory for the Shaymen ends a five-match run without a win and avenges the 4-1 defeat that Halifax suffered to Macclesfield on New Year’s Day.
Prior to the game, the MBi Shay Stadium impeccably observed a minute’s silence after the passing away of life-long supporter and programme seller Martin Naylor who passed away this week.
In just the third minute, winger Kosylo, making his first start for Halifax since October after an injury, almost made an immediate impact on his return to the starting 11 as his cross from the left almost found its way inside the Macclesfield far post.
Less than a minute later, there was an equal scare on the Halifax goal as Sam Johnson was forced into an early save with his legs after Scott Wilson went one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Town continued to be the early aggressors though and a dominant first 15 minutes saw Tom Denton’s towering header go inches over the bar from a Jake Hibbs free-kick.
The Shaymen’s pressure was slightly dented after being forced to substitute off injured defender Cliff Moyo midway through the half, but they continued to force the issue with Josh MacDonald slicing wide a one-on-one effort after latching onto a Hibbs through ball.
Macclesfield were limited to very little in an attacking sense and Town’s strong defence restricted them to only a couple of long-range efforts from lone frontman Scott Wilson.
Halifax’s endeavours were eventually rewarded late in the half as a trademark low cross by MacDonald met the head of Kosylo who’s bullet header from close range earned his first goal since September.
The hosts ended a quality half strongly as livewire winger MacDonald forced Sam Ramsbottom into a punch clear from another dangerous delivery in added time.
From the second-half restart, Macclesfield came out stronger and threatened when Scott Burgess put Wilson through before a super sliding tackle in the area by Josh Wilde denied the striker a shot on goal.
Town found their feet soon after though as ten minutes into the half goal-scorer Kosylo came agonisingly close to a second as he saw a free-kick from 20 yards out wonderfully tipped over the bar by Ramsbottom before skipper Matty Brown headed over from the resulting corner.
Chances were few are far between in a hard-fought second period, but Macclesfield came close to leveller shortly after the hour mark when Koby Arthur’s placed shot went inches wide of the top right corner before Ireland’s Noe Baba headed wide from an Elliott Durrell free-kick.
Macclesfield threatened solely through Wilson for much of the game and the Silkmen’s top-scorer missed three great chances in the space of a couple of minutes.
The number nine was unable to round Johnson from a one-on-one before seeing another shot stopped by Johnson’s feet. From the subsequent corner, Wilson could only head over the bar from short range after the cross found him at the back post.
It was back-to-the-wall defending by Halifax in the final ten minutes with Macclesfield pilling on the pressure as they vied to remain in the competition. Somehow, Burgess could only shoot wide from inside the area after a whipped Durrell delivery with seven minutes remaining.
Clarke’s long-range left-footed effort, which was easily caught by Ramsbottom, was as close as Town came to a second in injury time as they held on for a deserved win.
FC Halifax Town (4-5-1): Johnson; Moyo, Brown (C), Garner, Wilde; MacDonald, Hibbs, Collins, Clarke, Kosylo; Denton
Subs: Nicholson, Hotte, Oliver, McManus, Tomlinson
Macclesfield Town (4-5-1): Ramsbottom; Pilkington (C), Lowe, Kennedy, Baba; Durrell, Hancox, Burgess, Arthur, Richards, Wilson
Subs: Fitzpatrick, Marsh, Lloyd, Whitehead, Whitaker
Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 503 (36 Macclesfield)
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