FC Halifax Town 1-1 Welling

editorial image

FC Halifax Town were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Welling in a game they should have won.

After Town had spurned some clear chances in the first-half, Kingsley James looked to have sent them on the way to a crucial three points.

But after The Shaymen had retreated into their shells following their goal, Kadell Daniel equalised with a superb effort from outside the box.

On the balance of play, Jim Harvey’s side did more than enough to win, but may well rue that 20-odd minutes after James’ goal where their momentum seemed to have been turned off like a tap; when it was cranked up again towards the end, Welling did just about enough to hang to a precious point.

The result extends Harvey’s unbeaten run to 12 games, but will certainly feel like two points dropped.

The exclusion of Shaun Tuton certainly set the tongues wagging among Halifax supporters, with the transfer window closing imminently.

He and Sam Walker were replaced by Dino Fazlic, who made his home debut, and Richard Peniket, who started for Halifax for the first time since March 21 and would last just over an hour on an impressive Shay return.

Town set about their visitors with gusto, as Peniket and Burrow both had tame headers saved, while the latter embarked on a lung-busting run into the box before his attempted cross to Peniket was cleared just in time by an already under pressure Welling defence.

Welling’s new manager, appropriately called Dean Frost given the perishingly cold conditions and intermittent snow showers, must already have been feeling the heat.

Town should have got the goal their dominance of the first 20 minutes merited when the ball fell kindly to Nicky Wroe 12 yards out after keeper Marek Rodak failed to deal with Kevin Roberts’ cross, but the Halifax captain blazed over with the goal gaping.

Rodak then reacted brilliantly to tip away Peniket’s header as the snow began to settle on the Shay pitch.

The Halifax forward certainly wasn’t playing like someone on the way back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and had forged the promising green shoots of an effective partnership with Burrow.

Welling had offered just two weakly hit long range shots in return, and looked unable to cope with what Town were throwing at them, with some nervy, panicked defending keeping The Shaymen at bay.

Fazlic’s home debut didn’t even last until half-time as he was replaced by Connor Hughes, with Town switching to 4-4-2, perhaps not feeling the need for a third centre-back against a Welling team who looked there for the taking.

Another clear chance came Town’s way just before the break when Burrow’s pass played in James one-on-one with Rodak, but the midfielder’s effort was drilled rather than placed, and the keeper kept it out.

Welling had looked like a team that had scored just seven away goals in the league before the game and kept only one clean sheet on the road in the division, and hadn’t offered much at either end of the pitch to suggest a change of fortunes.

But if Town had been lulled into thinking they were on the verge of an easy win, they got a shock when Johnson was forced into an outstanding double save almost straight from the restart from Xavier Vidal then Kabba after a mis-kick by James Bolton inside his own area.

Frost’s first team-talk as manager had clearly worked wonders as Welling swarmed forward, with the lively Daniel at the heart of their new-found attacking zeal; suddenly it was Halifax relying on some last-ditch defending.

Just when they needed it most, Halifax got their breakthrough when Hughes’ shot was parried straight out by Rodak, who also blocked Burrow’s follow-up but couldn’t prevent James finding the net from close-range.

It was a role reversal now as Town seemed content to funnel back and try to hit Welling on the break, with Roberts deployed in his third different position of the day, albeit temporarily, as a third centre-back to keep a close eye on the diminutive Kabba.

The hosts had reverted to type since the goal and prompted an air of tension among the home supporters as a result who felt their side were inviting pressure, with Welling now enjoying territorial advantage as The Shaymen sat deeper, although the visitors struggled to create much.

And those fans could say ‘I told you so’ when Daniel curled a sumptuous shot beyond Johnson from 20 yards out to bring Welling level.

There was a response from Town as Matty Brown, Burrow and Hughes all saw efforts saved and The Shaymen showed some urgency, although some home supporters were wondering where it had been before Daniel’s leveller.

Halifax: Johnson, Bolton, Brown, Bencherif, Roberts (S McDonald 85), Wroe, James, Fazlic (Hughes 36), McManus, Peniket (Hibbs 63), Burrow. Subs not used: Porter, J MacDonald.

Scorer: James (56)

Shots on target: 10

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 8

Welling: Rodak, Chesmain, Chambers, Fagan (Nortey (9), Daniel, Lee, Ferry, Harris, Williams, Vidal (Wellard 79), Kabba (Bakare 75). Subs not used: McEntegart, Adeyinka.

Scorer: Daniel (80)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 3

Attendance: 1,407

Town man of the match: Hamza Bencherif