FC Halifax Town drew 0-0 with Pontefract Collieries in a game of limited chances at The Regional Electrical Services Ltd Stadium.
Pontefract goalkeeper Musselwhite put in a solid performance as the Shaymen struggled to create chances.
The game started slowly, with neither side able to maintain meaningful possession. Billy Waters and Tyrell Warren chased down a long ball over the Pontefract defence, but the fullback was adjudged to have fouled his man to win the ball.
Kieran Green then burst onto a loose ball in midfield before being brought down around 30 yards from the Pontefract goal. The resulting freekick was driven into the box by Matty Warburton, but Green was accused of shoving his man.
The Collieries’ tried to utilise long throw-ins, as Jack Greenhough launched the ball into the Shaymen box. Sam Johnson fumbled the ball in his first attempt to catch but was able to claim the ball under pressure.
The first real chance of the half fell the way of Pontefract, as Vaughan Redford could only slice high and wide from the back end of another Greenhough throw.
Jack Vann was then presented with another chance for Pontefract, but his long-range effort was saved by Sam Johnson. Collieries’ front man Eli Hey then burst through on goal, but with the goal at his mercy, could only fire wide under pressure from the retreating Debrah.
As Halifax looked to grow into the game, Billy Waters drove forward with the ball, but the ball just rolled out of play as he looked to cut the ball across goal. Waters then had the ball in the back of Musselwhite’s goal, but play was pulled back for offside.
Just before halftime, Kian Spence unleashed a drive from the edge of the area, but his effort lacked power and was comfortably claimed by the Pontefract goalkeeper.
After halftime, Jordan Slew collected the ball from a Jack Senior throw-in, but his volley from the edge of the area drifted narrowly wide as Town looked to assert themselves early in the second half.
It was then Harvey Gilmour’s turn to score an offside goal, as he latched onto a lovely Green pass before slotting past Musselwhite.
Jesse Debrah then had to clear as Ben Gordon looked to cross low into the Town box, before referee Matt Diciccio adjudged Debrah to have fouled Hey on the edge of the area. The resulting freekick was well claimed by Sam Johnson.
Pete Wild turned to his bench just before the hour mark, with Jamie Allen replacing Harvey Gilmour, who struggled to get involved in the match.
Around the hour mark, Halifax were struggling to create many openings, with Pontefract defending well and posing a threat on the counterattack.
Ben Gordon then delivered a set piece into the Town box, but Spencer Clarke could only place his header straight at Johnson, despite being free in front of goal.
Gordon then blocked brilliantly as Billy Waters looked set to volley Town in front, after Warburton played a great ball across the penalty box.
Pete Wild then turned to his bench for what would be the final time, this time Martin Woods and Elliot Newby entering the field. Woods’ first involvement was to win a corner, which Debrah could only head wide at the back post.
Captain Niall Maher then went close for the Shaymen, but his header cannoned off the woodwork before being scrambled to safety by the Collieries’ defence.
Maher then tried to beat Musselwhite from just inside his own half, but the goalkeeper backtracked well to claim the ball as the shot looked set to sail over him.
Musselwhite was forced into action once more in the seventy-fifth minute, saving at full-stretch to deny Elliot Newby’s blistering strike from finding the top corner.
In an end-to-end affair, Jack Vann struck a volley from the edge of the area which Johnson saved at full stretch. Town then broke forward, but as Matty Warburton could only sky his effort after Billy Waters played the ball across goal.
Town began to dominate as the game reached the eighty-minute mark, this time Jamie Allen tested Musselwhite with a strike from the edge of the area, but the keeper was able to claim his effort.
Kieran Green then struck an effort from just outside the area, but his shot was tame and rolled wide of the goal.
Pontefract defended well as a unit and seemed content with a replay at The Shay, but Jamie Allen burst forward and as he looked set to take the ball past the last line of defence, defender Scott Brown was shown a second yellow card for pulling the winger back. The resulting freekick was taken by Matty Warburton, but his effort was comfortably held by the impressive Musselwhite.
Town will be disappointed with the way they played and will be looking to improve on that performance when Pontefract visit The Shay Stadium on Tuesday.
Pontefract Collieries: 1 Ryan Musselwhite, 2 Jack Greenhough ©, 3 Ben Gordon, 4 Jack Vann, 5 Spencer Clarke, 6 Jimmy Williams (14 Scott Brown 63), 7 Gavin Rothery, 8 Derry Robson, 9 Eli Hay (17 Luke Hinsley 55), 10 Vaughan Redford, 11 Scott Smith (15 Fabian Bailey 82).
Subs: 12 Callum Brook, 16 Jack Lazenby.
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson, 3 Jack Senior, 5 Jesse Debrah, 8 Kieran Green, 10 Matty Warburton, 11 Billy Waters, 17 Kian Spence (26 Martin Woods 69), 20 Harvey Gilmour (7 Jamie Allen 59), 21 Tyrell Warren, 25 Jordan Slew (24 Elliot Newby 69), 31 Niall Maher ©
Subs: 12 Tom Scott (GK), 4 Luke Summerfield, 15 Gerry McDonagh, 22 Jack Vale.
Referee: Matt Diciccio
Yellow Cards: Brown 71, Hinsley 90+2, Brown 90+4
Red Cards: Brown 90+4
Pontefract Collieries 0 FC Halifax Town 0
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