FC Halifax Town reached the Second Round of The FA Cup as they beat Morecambe 1-0 in a FA Cup First Round Replay at a rainy MBi Shay Stadium. Cameron King scored the only goal of the game in the 8th minute with a sublime run and finish. This now sees them host AFC Wimbledon in Round Two on Saturday 1st December.
The Shaymen came into the game following their first league victory since the end of August on Saturday after beating Dover Athletic 1-0, meanwhile visitors Morecambe also came into the game on the back of a victory after grabbing three points away to Forest Green at the weekend.
Buoyed by their important win at the weekend, Jamie Fullarton’s side began the game with a swagger. Their first chance came in the first minute of the game as the ball went wide towards Jordan Preston who ran down the wing and fizzed an inviting ball across the Morecambe goalmouth but unfortunately for Halifax, no-one in blue could get a touch onto the ball.
Minutes later, another chance came for Halifax as Dayle Southwell hit an effort but could only put it wide of Mark Halstead’s left-hand post. After Halifax’s quickfire flurry, The Shrimps created their first opportunity of the game as Jordan Cranston hit a shot from range was palmed away by Sam Johnson.
After their bright start to the action, The Shaymen took the lead in the eighth minute. Southwell was able to lead a counter attack on the halfway line, who passed the ball onto King who was able to dribble his way towards the danger area and eventually found himself inside the box and then fired the ball past Halstead into the far corner to give his side a deserved lead.
Credit to Morecambe, they restarted the game well and Cranston yet again produced a shot from range but couldn’t trouble Johnson in the Halifax goal. A minute later, Nathan Clarke was booked for a reckless challenge on Vadaine Oliver, however the resulting freekick from the foul didn’t lead to anything.
Up the other end, The Shaymen got themselves a corner, which was taken by full back Ryan Sellers. Sellers managed to hit the crossbar directly from the corner, but unfortunately for Halifax it bounced away from the danger area.
It was an end to end encounter thus far. The next chance came from Morecambe as Ajay Leitch-Smith produced a shot inside the box which took a massive deflection but fell into the palms of Johnson.
In the 23rd minute, Southwell was able to send a free kick deep into the box which found the head of Nathan Clarke whose header diverted into the path of Matty Kosylo who prodded the ball home to seemingly double The Shaymen’s lead however as he wheeled away in celebration, assistant referee Helen Byrne adjudged the wide man to be in an offside, so the score stayed at 1-0.
Halifax’s No.9 was able to lead another counter attack moments later, and found Kosylo who was able to drift inside towards the box and played a neat one-two with the goal scorer King, leading to Kosylo forcing Halstead into another save.
Despite the difference in football pyramid status, on the face of it seemed like Halifax were the Football League side, putting their opponents under constant pressure.
As the half drew to a close, Morecambe were able to apply a little bit of pressure to their opponents but nothing for Sam Johnson in the Halifax goal to worry about, the sides went into half time with The National League side one goal ahead.
The second half began, without either side deciding to make a change. The Shaymen restarted the half where they had left off in the first period, looking to press Morecambe high and force them into unnecessary errors.
However, Morecambe produced the first chance of the second half as striker Rhys Oates unleashed a dangerous looking shot from outside the area but was unable to trouble the goalkeeper Johnson.
The visitors grew into the second half as it went on, finally applying some pressure to Jamie Fullarton’s men. In the 56th minute, Leitch-Smith was able to cut inside and hit a shot which looked goal bound but defender Matty Brown was able to get his frame in the way of his shot and the danger was averted.
Looking to get themselves back into the tie, Andrew Tutte was introduced by Jim Bentley. By this time, it seemed that Halifax’s first half heroics were starting to take their toll on some legs as they began to drop a little deeper and soaked up the Morecambe pressure.
Despite having most of the possession, Jim Bentley’s side were unable to land a telling glove onto the tiring Halifax side, and were able to deal with the pressure well.
In the 58th minute, a dangerous cross looked certain to fall into the path of Vadaine Oliver, but Johnson was able to calmly collect the ball.
Morecambe were able to put some patterns of play together as the half went on, looking to use the overlap of right back Zac Mills. Mills, on a couple of occasions produced delightful balls into the box but no Morecambe man was able to get on the end of one of them.
As aforementioned, The Shaymen began to tire as time ticked on with the team unable to get the kind of rhythm going that they had in the first period, looking to knock the ball up the field as soon as they gained the ball back, seemingly happy to soak up the Morecambe pressure.
As the game was beginning to get away from the League Two outfit, Bentley introduced Jason Oswell and Kevin Ellison to draw the game level. Their next couple of opportunities came from their striking duo of Leitch-Smith and Oates, but they were both unable to find the target.
With legs tiring, Jonathan Edwards and Sanmi Odelusi were brought on by Fullarton, as The Shaymen looked to see out the game, and so they did with some smart and patient possession as the game reached the dying embers.
Three minutes of additional time was awarded for Morecambe to try and force the game into extra time, however it wasn’t to be as Halifax reached the second round of The FA Cup
where they will host League One AFC Wimbledon on Saturday 1st December in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The Shaymen are next in action when they travel to Ebbsfleet on Saturday in The National League kick off 3pm
Attendance: 1218 (282 away)
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