FC Halifax Town 2 v 1 AFC Fylde (Vanarama National League)
Vanarama National League North Champions AFC Flyde arrived at Shay Stadium having had a good start to the season winning two, drawing four and losing two of their opening National League fixtures. Billy Heath made two enforced changes with Dion Charles and Josh MacDonald replacing the injured Cliff Moyo and suspended Matty Kosylo.
FC Halifax Town started the game brightly and had the first real effort of the half when on eight minutes, Dion Charles cut inside from the left-wing before drilling the ball just inches wide of Rhys Taylor’s goal. Just ten minutes later, Adam Morgan went close as he forced Taylor into a superb finger-tip save following an effort from the edge of the area.
Fylde’s best chance of breaking the deadlock came from a long throw by Josh Ezewele into the home sides area which was met by Tom Denton head, but as he attempted to clear the ball, his header hit Sam Johnson’s crossbar and bounced to safety.
Danny Rowe was getting closer and was inches away from putting the visitors ahead as he hit a vicious shot from twenty yards which went just wide of Sam Johnson’s left-hand post. The Coasters ended the half with a glorious chance to go ahead when Finley picked out Rowe on the right. The striker beat his man at the byline before leaving Scott Garner in his wake only to clip his eventual strike over Johnson’s crossbar from close range.
The visitors started the second-half the stronger of the two teams, James Hardy went close twice in the first few minutes. The first effort was a well struck shot which went just over crossbar and his second effort from inside the area went straight at Johnson.
On fifty-six minutes, the visitors took the lead following an excellent through ball from Montrose which found Danny Rowe running through the middle, the striker outpaced the FC Halifax defence, before collecting the ball in the area and chipping it over the onrushing Johnson for his third goal of the season.
FC Halifax responded immediately however and equalised just a minute later. Morgan’s cross from the right-hand side hit the crossbar and landed kindly into the path of Denton who headed into the net from just a few yards out. Both sides exchanged chances in the next ten minutes with Hardy threatening with a high bending shot before Oliver’s half-volley forced Taylor into a good save to his left.
On seventy-seven minutes, the home side took the lead when Tom Denton started and finished a move. Denton held a ball up nicely from a long pass before exchanging passes with Josh MacDonald and Ben Tomlinson, MacDonald then teed up Town’s top-scorer in the area as he applied the finishing touch bending the ball into the far corner of the goal.
Both sides exchanged chances in the final ten minutes with Hardy threatening the home goal with a high bending shot that curled just wide of Sam Johnson’s goal. Minutes later Connor Oliver’s hit a half-volley for the home side which forced Rhys Taylor into a good stop to his left.
AFC Fylde continued to attack looking for a late equaliser as the home side defence stood strong, then as the game entered four minutes injury time, substitute Matt Blinkhorn lost his head and stamped on Scott Garner and was given a straight red card by referee Hart.
Speaking after the match manager Billy Heath said, “I thought in the first-half we just gave them far too much respect which is unlike us because we’re usually on the front foot. I made a tactical switch at the break and went direct to utilise Denton’s strengths.
We’ve still got a lot of work to do but fair play to the players because we’re patched up again, it doesn’t help when you’ve got a left back playing right back. The squad’s getting thinner all the time but we carry on.”
After today’s victory the Shaymen are now undefeated in four league games with three wins and one draw, whilst collecting ten points from a possible twelve. FC Halifax Town will look to continue their winning run when Maidenhead United visit the Shay Stadium.
FC Halifax Town – Johnson, Wilde, Brown, Garner, Hotte, Oliver, McManus, MacDonald, Denton, Morgan, Charles (Subs) Nicolson, Lynch, Tomlinson, Dixon, Clarke
AFC Fylde – Taylor, Montrose, Tunncliffe, Ezewele, Bond, Hardy, Finley, Rowe, Muldoon, Grand, Burke (Subs) Lynch, Richards, Blinkhorn, Smith, Jones
Goals – (FC Halifax) Denton (58, 77) (AFC Fylde) Rowe (56)
Attendance – 1,775