FC Halifax Town returned to winning ways after defeating Sutton United through a late Devante Rodney penalty at The Shay this evening.
It was the striker’s 86th-minute strike which was the difference after an overall competitive performance from both sides.
There was a big moment in the opening two minutes of the game when Town had a goal disallowed. Jeff King started the move on the edge of the box floating a cross into Danny Williams.
Williams pulled the ball back across to Tobi Sho-Silva who netted well in front of goal. However, any Shaymen celebrations were cut short when Williams was deemed offside.
The game opened up within the first 15 minutes, as Sutton hit out onto the attack before Town countered through Rodney who made a darting 40-yard run.
The forward had several options to hand and tried using Sho-Silva who drifted into a pocket inside the box, however, Rodney’s pass just wavered away from the number 11.
Town added to their pressure on the 21st minute mark, as Danny Williams on the left-hand side picked out Sho-Silva inside the box. Sho-Silva struck an effort goal wards which was deflected wide of Nik Tzanev’s goal.
Sutton were also looking to apply the pressure, with a lot of their spells on the ball being on the left-hand side with Kyel Reid.
Reid on several occasions looked to get the ball into the box for Omar Buigel, who was the big option up front for the U’s. However, Town did well to stay robust and defend off any ball into the box.
Short of the half an hour mark, the referee made a key call, waving away shouts of a potential Town penalty. Jeff King was bundled down inside the area, however, Simon Mather deemed it to be no spot kick.
Charlie Cooper had a half-chance to open the deadlock shortly after. Redshaw collected the ball from a throw-in before playing it to Cooper on the edge of the box. His first-time shot was held in Tzanev’s grasp.
The latter parts of the first half was poised with two robust defences. Neither side’s attackers could fully open up the other’s defence, which was credit to both teams.
Both sides were eager to open the scoring before the break, and with this the tensions were high. Every challenge was a small battle, on one occasion there was a rash Sutton challenge in front of the dugouts.
This caused a little exchange of words in the technical area which saw Town manager Pete Wild receive a yellow card.
Six-minutes into the second period marked the first attempt of the half. There was some patient passing from Halifax before Charlie Cooper floated a ball into the six-yard box.
Sho-Silva met the ball and floated a header just wide and over Sutton’s loanee goalkeeper Tzanev.
It was goalless by the hour mark, an assessment of the first sixty minutes would provide a defensive outlook on the game. Both sides kept up their impeccable defence – limiting the opposition attacks to half chances.
Wild introduced Jamie Allen into the game in the 66th minute, replacing Sho-Silva, who put in a good performance for the Shaymen. Allen brought something different to the game with his runs in-behind.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring just shy of seventy minutes. It was former Wolverhampton Wanderers player Will Randall whose shot in front of goal was parried away to safety by Sam Johnson.
Town then tested Tzanev when a ball from the flank was played into Cooper onto the edge. He hit a well-timed effort goal wards, which Tzanev captured smoothly.
The beginning of the last quarter of an hour was Sutton’s best phase of the game. After some calm passing around the box, Kyel Reid collected the ball on the left flank before firing a shot at Johnson. Town’s number one made a good save to his right.
Allen showcased his tremendous ability of runs in behind ten minutes from time. After a good run and collecting the ball he hit a powerful shot at goal, which Tzanev comfortably saved.
The biggest game changer came on the 86th minute, when Halifax were awarded a penalty kick after Nathan Clarke took a boot to the head when contesting a header at a corner kick.
Rodney took the penalty and comfortably sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put the Shaymen in front, scoring his fifth goal of the season in the process.
As well as the remaining three minutes of normal time, Town had to hang on for five minutes of added time to secure the three points. They managed to do so and moved back into third in the Vanarama National League table.
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson; 4 Nathan Clarke; 5 Matty Brown (C); 11 Tobi Sho-Silva (66”); 14 Josh Staunton (89”); 20 Jeff King; 21 Danny Williams; 22 Charlie Cooper; 23 Jack Redshaw (74”); 31 Niall Maher; 35 Devante Rodney
Subs: 3 Jerome Binnom-Williams; 6 Liam Nolan (89”); 7 Jamie Allen (66”); 10 Cameron King (74”); 12 Will Appleyard (GK)
Yellow Cards: Matty Brown (33”); Jeff King (87”)
Red Cards: None
Sutton United: 13 Nikola Tzanev; 4 Jonathan Barden; 5 Ben Goodliffe; 7 Tom Bolarinwa; 9 Omar Buigel (80”); 12 Coby Rowe; 18 Will Randall (73”); 21 Callum Kealy (60”); 22 Ben Wyatt; 24 Rob Milsom (C); 28 Kyel Reid
Subs: 14 Craig Dundas (80”); 16 Bradley Pearce; 17 David Ajiboye (73”); 19 Wayne Brown; 25 Isaac Olaofe (60”)
Yellow Cards: Jonathan Barden (33”)
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 1,637 (29 visitors)
FC Halifax Town 1 Sutton United 0
Goals: Devante Rodney (PEN 87”)
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