Halifax town 0 -1 Harrogate TOWN
Harrogate Town secured a hard-earned victory over rivals FC Halifax Town, in a close encounter at The Shay.
Town travelled to the impressive Mbi Shay Stadium for a tie with fellow promotion hopefuls Halifax Town. Billy Heath experienced his first defeat in charge of FC Halifax Town last Saturday, with his side on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline against AFC Fylde.
Town's second Yorkshire derby of the season was bound to be a cagey affair, and the first half an hour was certainly that. A number of free kicks disrupted the opening thirty minutes, with neither side able to stamp their authority on the game. Perhaps buoyed by the home crowd, Halifax looked the more dangerous side as the first-half progressed yet failed to create any real chances. The long throw of Jordan Sinnot looked to be Halifax’s main threat, with the giant Tom Denton always the target in Town's penalty area.
Denton was a handful for Town's defence, and Simon Ainge went into the referee’s book on 35 minutes, after a foul on the towering striker. The resulting free-kick was well struck, but sailed harmlessly over Peter Crook’s crossbar. Three minutes later, an injury to Warren Burrell forced Simon Weaver to introduce Andi Thanoj as his replacement. As first-half drew to a close, Matt Kosylo almost carved out a chance after a wonderful pass from Steven Drench. Lewis Turner across excellently to block the shot on goal.
Into the second-half, both sides started brighter than the first. Town won a free-kick on the edge of the Halifax box after good work by Tom Platt, however Joe Leesley could only fire into the wall. Moments later, Leesley found space in behind the Halifax back four, and looked to have had his shirt pulled as he could only scuff his shot. Town continued to grow into the game, however yet again the tempo was slowed by a number of fouls from both sides.
Striker Jordan Robertson was introduced on 63 minutes, and the big centre-forward had an immediate impact. Having received the ball 30 yards from goal, his chest control allowed him to play a cross-field ball to Jack Emmett. Emmett, cutting in from the right edge of the Halifax box, danced past Kevin Roberts before smashing a strike past Steven Drench. The ball ricochet off the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the back of the net, drawing huge celebrations from the travelling fans.
The game continued to be finely poised until the 77th minute when Halifax were presented a huge chance to equalise. Tom Denton found space at the back post from a corner, but his shot trickled tamely wide of the post.
The hosts looked dangerous in the closing stages, yet failed to find a breakthrough as the home support took their frustration out on referee Anthony Tankard. With only two minutes of normal time to go, Lloyd Kerry was badly hurt following a 50/50 challenge on the edge of the Halifax penalty area. Kerry was replaced by Chilaka for the five minutes of added time, and was quickly taken to hospital for further assessment.
The final whistle was a welcome one, with Simon Weaver’s men securing a huge three points against their Yorkshire rivals. However, celebrations were muted in the Harrogate Town dressing room, as concerns over the wellbeing of Kerry on everybody’s mind.
FC Halifax Town: Drench, Roberts, Garner, O’Brien, Hone, Wilde (Hibbs 46), Macdonald, Sinnott (Hotte 64), Kosylo (Hughes 74), Peniket, Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Burrow.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Colbeck, Turner, Burrell (Thanoj 39), Ainge, Sheils, Kerry (Chilaka 90), Leesley, Pitman (Robertson 66), Platt, Emmett. Subs not used: Ellis, Stewart.
Scorer: Emmett (67)