FC Halifax Town fell to a 4-2 loss in the Vanarama National League, thanks to late goals from Mitch Rose and Kyle Wootton at The Shay.
Despite a slow start to the match, there were plenty of goals in the second half as Notts County came from behind twice, cancelling out strikes from Shawn McCoulsky and Jamie Allen.
The Shaymen went toe-to-toe with their visitors for large parts; Wootton’s 96th minute goal – scored on the counterattack with virtually the last kick of the game – giving the score line a slightly lop-sided look.
With just over eight minutes of the game gone, Town had the first shot. Town broke forward through Danny Williams on the left and his excellent through ball found Tobi Sho-Silva but the forward could only fire it straight at Ross Fitzsimons in the County goal.
Notts saw their first bit of goalmouth action 18 minutes into the game when Michael Duckworth tapped a cross behind for a corner. Sean Shields fired in but the Shaymen cleared well – their resolute defending was a feature of this game, despite what the score line might suggest.
With ten minutes to go until half-time, a strong run down the right-hand side saw Wootton received the ball in the middle for County, however his shot went wide of the mark as the scores stayed level.
It looked like it would stay that way into the break, but with just a minute of the half remaining the Shaymen took the lead, in somewhat unconventional circumstances.
Duckworth cut in from the left-hand side and fired a shot towards the bottom-left corner of the goal. His effort took a large deflection off McCoulsky, wrong-footing Fitzsimons, who could only lay stranded on his knees as the ball rolled into the opposite corner.
Not that this bothered McCoulsky, who was awarded the goal – his first for the club on his maiden start.
Just three minutes into the second half, the visitors pulled level. A free-kick was swung in from deep and fell to Wootton in the middle of the box. With bodies around him he got a shot away, the effort taking a slight deflection – just enough to creep past Sam Johnson to make it 1-1.
The Shaymen regained the lead in the 57th minute thanks to Allen. Williams made a great run down the left wing and fired a low cross into the box. Sho-Silva could not quite connect with it, but Allen was waiting at the back post to fire it home.
It took three minutes for Notts County to level again as the game burst into life. A free-kick was swung in from deep and Josh Staunton headed clear. It fell to Mitch Rose on the edge of the area, who hit a sweetly timed volley past a helpless Johnson to level the scores again.
With just 11 minutes left on the clock, and the game on a knife-edge, County won a penalty. Josh Staunton was penalised for what looked to be a fifty-fifty challenge (and received a yellow card for his troubles). Rose stepped up to take and fired low into the bottom-right corner as Notts took the lead for the first time in the game.
Naturally Town flew forward in search of the equaliser their performance deserved, however they were caught on the break with the last significant action of the match.
An excellent long diagonal drop-kick from Fitzsimons found Wes Thomas on the left flank, who passed inside to the advancing Wootton, and the striker calmly slotted into the far corner.
FC Halifax Town:
1 Sam Johnson, 2 Michael Duckworth, 4 Nathan Clarke, 5 Matty Brown © 7 Jamie Allen, 11 Tobi Sho-Silva, 14 Josh Staunton, 16 Jacob Hanson (22 Charlie Cooper 76’), 21 Danny Williams (15 Liam McAlinden 65’), 31 Niall Maher, 40 Shawn McCoulsky (10 Cameron King 61’)
Unused subs: 12 Will Appleyard, 17 Josh MacDonald
28 Ross Fitzsimmons, 3 Damien Mcrory, 4 Mitch Rose (22 Tom Crawford 90+), 7 Wes Thomas, 8 Michael Doyle ©, 11 Enzio Boldewijn, 13 Connell Rawlinson, 14 Kyle Wooton, 20 Richard Brindley (16 Dion Kelly-Evans 68’), 31 Alex Lacey, 32 Sean Shields (9 Kristian Dennis 83’)
Unused subs: 30 Jake Kean, 19 Pierce Bird
Goals: McCoulsky 45, Wooton 48, Allen 57, Rose 65, Rose 81, Wootton 90+
Yellow Cards: Staunton 80″, Charlie Cooper 89’, Michael Duckworth 90+, Mitch Rose 90+
Red Cards: N/A
Attendance: 2491 (546)
FC Halifax Town 2 Notts County 2
Next up Town travel to Stockport County in the Vanarama National League, on Boxing Day.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist