FC Halifax Town exited the FA Trophy at the fourth-round stage with a 2-1 home defeat to Southport.
Goals from George Newell and Adam Anson were enough to see The Shaymen bow out of the competition, despite a dominant first-half display that saw a brilliantly taken goal by Jack Earing.
Town were on top in the opening stages, but conceded the first goal in the 11th minute when a cross from David Morgan was turned home with a fine header by George Newell.
Just two minutes later The Shaymen had a brilliant opportunity to find an instant reply, when January addition Lewis Mansell picked up the ball just outside the Southport penalty area. With Anthony McMilan off his line, the striker tried to send the ball around him, but he was prevented by a good save from the away side’s goalkeeper.
It didn’t take long for Town to find the equaliser, however. In the 20th minute, Jack Earing was able to latch on to a ball over the top, beating the Southport defence for pace, and rounded the goalkeeper before sliding the ball into the net to make it 1-1. A brilliantly taken goal by Earing, who was on fine form on the night for The Shaymen.
In the 33rd minute, the Town players must have thought they’d taken the lead. After a cross from the left by Jack Earing flashed across the box, defender Mo Ali tried to put the ball out for a corner but instead fired it towards his own goal, being denied by the crossbar, a lucky escape for the Southport man.
The woodwork again prevented Town from taking the lead in the 38th minute. Jeff King found himself free inside the penalty area, and cut the ball onto his left foot before striking a powerful shot at the Southport goal which cannoned off the bar and out for a goal kick.
On the stroke of half-time The Shaymen were again unlucky not to take the lead when a Tom Bradbury header in stoppage time found its way into the back of the net, but it was ruled out by the referee for a foul in the build-up. That was to be all the action in the first-half, in what was a dominant first-half display from Halifax.
Town started the second half brightly with a chance within two minutes of the restart. Jack Earing was again played through and did well to get a shot away, but he was denied by McMilan in the Southport goal.
Just a minute later came another good opportunity when Jack Earing played Kieran Green through on goal, however the midfielder was unable to get his shot away before the Southport goalkeeper was able to come out and smother the ball.
After consecutive corners in quick succession, Southport nearly found the lead in the 61st minute when an in-swinger from substitute Dylan Vassallo nearly dipped in, if not for a good save by Sam Johnson to tip it away from danger.
In the 66th minute, Southport had their lead. Adam Anson got on the end of a ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and was able to swivel and fire a shot into the top right corner, beating Sam Johnson for sheer power and making it 2-1 to the visitors.
The best chance of the second half for The Shaymen fell to Luke Summerfield in the 75th minute. The midfielder picked up the ball just outside the penalty-area, and unleashed a right footed strike that looked to have the keeper beat, but went just inches wide of the post.
Town continued to press with the game entering its closing changes, creating several good opportunities, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Jeff King came close with a deflected effort in the 83rd minute, before Neill Byrne had a back-post header from a Luke Summerfield cross go agonizingly over the cross bar.
In the 93rd minute Niall Maher again found the woodwork for Town after his shot from inside the penalty area hit the bar as the side continued to look for the crucial equalising goal, but it simply wasn’t to be.
That was to be the last of the action in a disappointing evening for The Shaymen, with it finishing FC Halifax Town 1-2 Southport.
FC Halifax Town
1 Sam Johnson, 2 Jeff King, 3 Jack Senior (20 Dom Tear 73), 5 Neill Byrne, 6 Tom Bradbury (35 Jean Leroy-Belehouan 62), 8 Kieran Green, 10 Jack Earing, 19 Luke Summerfield, 26 Martin Woods (7 Jamie Allen 62), 31 Niall Maher ©, 34 Lewis Mansell
Subs: 12 Harrison Davison-Hale, 11 Danny Williams, 18 Jay Benn, 37 Nick Crane
13 Anthony McMillan, 18 Jack Bainbridge, 5 Adam Anson, 14 Mo Ali, 4 Russell Benjamin, 10 George Newell, 6 David Morgan ©, 2 Charles Oliver, 8 Jordan Archer, 3 Jack Doyle (16 Dylan Vassallo), 17 Niall Watson
Subs: 1 Daniel Hanford, 11 Marcus Carver, 7 Connor Woods, 12 Matthew Challiner
Referee: Martin Woods
Yellow Cards: Senior 23
Goals: Newell 10, Earing 20, Anson 68
FC Halifax Town 1 Southport 2
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