FC Halifax Town 1 v 0 Stalybridge Celtic (Vanarama Conference North)
FC Halifax Town returned to the Shay Stadium to take on struggling Stalybridge Celtic in the Vanarama Conference North, with Stalybridge Celtic sitting in the relegation area the Shaymen were looking for another home league victory.
FC Halifax started the strong of the two teams with Cliff Moyo and Josh MacDonald causing a number of issues for the Stalybridge Celtic left-back, the two combined well down the left-hand side with some excellent runs in the opening twenty minutes.
FC Halifax then went close on twenty minutes after Tom Denton was fouled on the edge of the area, the resulting free-kick went across the area to the back post were Hone’s met the ball with a diving header which went just wide of McMillan goal.
Then five minutes later, Liam King made an excellent run from midfield and was found by Moyo before running clear into the area with only McMillan to beat, however Celtic keeper made an excellent 1 on 1 save to keep the score 0-0.
Stalybridge should have then taken the lead against the run of play with arguably the best chance of the first half. Graham Wylie managed to get goal side of Moyo before curling a cross to the far post, where Daniel Wilkins hit an excellent shot which rattled the left post.
On thirty-four minutes, FC Halifax took the lead from the penalty spot after Tom Denton had been pulled to the floor in the area. Captain Liam King stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make the score 1-0.
FC Halifax should have added a second on forty minutes, as King again found himself in behind the Stalybridge defence with back-up from Josh MacDonald. However King could not find his team mate in the area and scuffed his pass which was cleared by the defence to make the half-time 1-0.
The second half was a bit more of a midfield battle and the tempo was much slower and sluggish, however there were a couple of efforts in the half, one for each side but they never looked like being another goal in the game.
Midway through the half, following a long ball over the top of the Stalybridge defence Roberts was in a race to the ball with McMillan, but the keeper got there first to head the ball away just outside his area.
On seventy minutes, the game exploded when Scott Garner appeared to elbow Gorton when going up for a header. This lead to a yellow card for Garner, Richard Peniket and Liam King. Even the two benches exchanged heated words.
A few moments later Tom Denton should have scored a second for FC Halifax when a cross from the right wing was met by Denton with a diving header, but his effort went over the Celtic keepers crossbar.
Stalybridge should have drawn level in the last minute as Wilkins found space and curled his effort around Steve Drench only to see it hit the post. The rebound fell perfectly for Celtic’s captain Matthew Hughes, but he could only watch as his shot was blocked by Scott Garner to protect all three points for the Shaymen.
The result lifts the Shayman to ninth in the league just two points off the play-offs ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Gainsborough Trinity.
FC Halifax – Drench, Moyo, Wilde, King, Hone, Garner, MacDonald, Hibbs, Denton, Roberts, Peniket (Subs) Nicholson, Hughes, Sinnott, O’Brien, Burrow
Stalybridge Celtic – McMillan, Wylie, Kely, Gorton, Hughes, Ryan, Chalmers, Wisdom, Owens, Wilkins, Chippendale (Subs) Gillam, Tames, Pilkington, Mukendi, Sherlock
Goals – King (34 pen)
Attendance – 1,552