FC Halifax Town fell to successive league defeats for the first time since January as they were defeated 2-0 by promotion chasing Tranmere Rovers in their final home match of the season at the MBi Shay Stadium.
A goal each from Tranmere’s in-form forward pairing of Andy Cook and James Norwood in the first-half were enough to give Rovers the three points although Halifax did threaten in the second-period with Matty Kosylo seeing a penalty well saved.
Defeat for the Shaymen sees them remain in 15th in the Vanarama National League table with just one match of the season now remaining.
Tranmere raced out of the blocks and took the lead after less than five minutes as striker Cook worked some room in the penalty area and fired a low shot goal wards. Goalkeeper Sam Johnson got a strong arm to the ball but was unable to turn wide as the ball fell into the bottom corner.
The goal continued Cook’s fine form as the striker bagged his 14th from his last ten matches for the Rovers.
The Rovers were fully in charge in the opening quarter as Norwood and then Connor Jennings saw efforts deflect closely wide before Richie Sutton failed to steer home a shot from a drilled cross at the back post, although it was at a tough angle for the defender.
After 23 minutes, Tranmere doubled their lead with their other frontman Norwood on the scoresheet. Jeff Hughes’ crossed free-kick from the right hand-side perfectly met the head of Norwood who’s glancing touch sent the ball into the far-left corner for his 20th league goal of the season.
A few minutes later Halifax registered their first major chance. Raheem Hanley did brilliantly to turn away from substitute full-back Jay Harris before crossing to Mike Fondop-Talom who struck a volley which was tremendously saved by Scott Davies.
The ball then fell kindly to Connor Thomson in the penalty area but the midfielder, whilst slightly off balance, could only slice his effort wide of the far post.
Four minutes before the break, Tranmere should have been three goals to the good. A clever ball by Hughes played through Cook who rounded Johnson only for a tremendous block on the line by Scott McManus to deny the striker a brace.
The Rovers continued to pile on the pressure until the half-time whistle and Norwood was the latest to almost to grab a second. Harris sent the striker through on goal and the forward rifled a shot agonisingly wide of the far post having beaten Johnson with the effort.
The second period started as the first-half had ended with Norwood again coming close to a double. The 27-year-old found room on the edge of the penalty area and fired a shot that whiskered inches wide of the post.
Just past the hour mark, Halifax were gifted with a golden opportunity as a trip on Fondop-Talom by Davies gave Kosylo a penalty-kick.
Unfortunately, the midfielder saw his effort from 12 yards fantastically saved by Davies as the keeper read the strike and pushed it wide of his left post.
Chances were few and far between after Kosylo’s missed chance with an easily saved shot from substitute winger Josh Ginnelly the only effort on goal in a closely fought ten-minute spell.
Halifax kept pushing for a consolation as with seven minutes remaining, Kosylo saw a deflected free-kick from 25 yards out go wide of the Tranmere goal.
That was the closest that Halifax would come to getting on the scoresheet as Tranmere saw out another victory on the road.
FC Halifax Town: Johnson; Duckworth, Graham, Maher, McManus; Hanley, Hotte, Collins (C), Thomson; Kosylo; Fondop-Talom
Subs: Nicholson, Hibbs, Oliver, Tuton, Hanson
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Buxton, Ridgehalgh, Sutton, McNulty (C), Cook, Norwood, Jennings, Norburn, Hughes, Cole
Subs: Taylor, Mangan, Harris, Ginnelly, Monthe
Referee: Matthew Donohue
Read more posts by Jacob Kilbride