DCSIMG

FC Halifax Town 1 Radcliffe Borough 1: Point no real use to Town

FC Halifax Town may have moved four points clear at the top of Unibond One North after this draw, but it was a result that further diminished their chances of automatic promotion.

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With none of their rivals able to beat the big freeze, the Shay groundstaff's magnificent efforts gave Town the chance to apply some pressure.

But the players failed to respond and while they had the chances to win the game they could just as easily have gone down as they lost their way in the second half.

The pitch passed a 12.45pm inspection from the match referee, but neither side looked particularly comfortable on it.

Sadly, the Shaymen looked more uncomfortable than Borough whose simple style frustrated the Halifax attack and caused problems at the other end.

It is almost impossible to explain how a side that won seven league games in a row in October and November to go top has won just twice in the eight games since.

The confidence certainly appears to be draining quickly and the response on the final whistle from the 1,100-plus crowd left Jim Vince and his squad in no doubt that this was not good enough.

Yet they could - and possibly should - have opened the scoring after just four minutes following good work from Junior Brown and Ajay Leitch-Smith down the right.

The Crewe man pulled the ball back for Damien Allen 10 yards from goal, but he could not beat Radcliffe keeper Phil Priestley with a left foot shot.

And when Leitch-Smith and Allen combined again soon after they created a chance for Nigel Jemson, but his right-foot effort lacked the power to beat the keeper.

Radcliffe had created nothing before the 19th minute when they should have taken the lead.

Steve Brockley's free kick was cleared as far as Mark Jones who crossed the ball back in for Steve Howson but he could only head over from six yards.

Apart from long-range efforts from Lee Connell and Simon Kelly, that was the visitors' only real opportunity before the break.

At the other end, Brown had an effort blocked after 25 minute and was denied by a superb sliding tackle from Connell as he latched onto a Leitch-Smith pass six minutes later.

And from the resulting corner the Shaymen finally took the lead with Jemson heading the ball back towards the edge of the six-yard box and Lincoln Adams stretching out his leg to force it home.

Town did not build on their slender advantage as the opening period meandered tamely to a close.

But they did show signs of life after the break with Cavell Coo feeding Brown, whose shot was turned round the post by Priestley.

The keeper also denied Michael Barnes on his debut as he tried to capitalise on Allen's pass.

Having survived, Radcliffe started to commit more players forward with Owen Roberts down the left causing particular problems.

And it was a cross from that flank that led to the equaliser in the 67th minute as Jon Kennedy, under pressure, failed to hold on to a Gary Sampson cross.

The ball bounced to Howson who slid it home, although it took an age to finally end up in the back of the net.

Town's response was to replace their Jemson/Leitch-Smith strikeforce with Paul Gedman and Ashley Stott.

And Gedman almost made an immediate impact when he ran down the ball on the right and whipped in a cross, but there was no one there to capitalise.

Radcliffe almost snatched the lead with nine minutes remaining when goalscorer Howson floated the ball in from the right.

Kennedy seemed certain that it was going wide and was partially correct as it rebounded back into play off the far post.

Town's opportunity to win it came three minutes later when Adams flicked on Tom Baker's free kick, but Priestley leaped to his right to claw the goalbound effort away.

Radcliffe refused to lie down and it took a fine challenge in the area from Cavell Coo to deny substitute Michael Oates a shooting opportunity in the final minute of stoppage time.

And Stott might have snatched the points for the Shaymen as the game entered time added on but his attempt to lift the ball over the Borough keeper failed.

MATCH FACTS

FC Halifax Town: Kennedy, Coo, Adams, Sutton, Meadowcroft, Brown (Ross 83), Allen, Baker, Barnes, Letch-Smith (Gedman 70), Jemson (Stott 70). Subs (not used): Hinsley, Barras.

Booked: Sutton (foul 90)

Sent off: None

Goal: Adams 32

Radcliffe Borough: Priestley, Unsworth, Roberts, Kelly, Dawson, Brockley, Connell, Jones, Howson (Oates 87), Fitzpatrick (Roscoe 81), Sampson. Subs (not used): Drew, Fletcher, Jones.

Booked: None

Sent off: None

Goal: Howson 67

Attendance: 1,172

Referee: S Rowntree

STAR SHAYMAN

It has not been a particularly good few weeks for the Town players who are clearly struggling to rediscover the form they showed earlier in the campaign.

Saturday's game was a perfect example of how they have been playing, with glimpses of what they can do accompanied by anti climax.

There is no doubt that the players are putting everything in - they are just not quite getting enough out.

Junior Brown did as much as anyone to try to get the Shaymen going, working hard and getting into decent positions on a couple of occasions, notably when he was denied by Radcliffe keeper Phil Priestley forcing a corner that led to the Town goal.

That was scored by Lincoln Adams who strained every muscle to get on the end of Nigel Jemson's knock down.

He might also have bagged a winner with a late header from Tom Baker's free kick but was also denied by Priestley.

Cavell Coo also coped well with switching from right to left and was a threat on more than one occasion.

Brown claims the three points on offer in our season long competition with Adams taking two and Coo one.

PLAYER POINTS

Junior Brown 29, Tom Baker 25, Scott Phelan 17, Jonathan Smith 16, Paul Gedman 11, Colin Daniel 10, Peter Moore 10, Ashley Stott 10, Jon Kennedy 9, Nigel Jemson 9, Cavell Coo 6, Lincoln Adams 6, Damien Allen 5, Adam Morning 4, Paul Collins 4, Steve Payne 3, Craig Smith 2, Justin Walker 2, Luke Hinsley 2, Danny Ellis 1, Phil Senior 1.

YOU SAY

It's getting worse every week. When are you going to come up with fresh ideas for us to actually win a game? A new striker is a must before next weekend. Over 1100 people there today! Once again let down by another woeful performance - 100 per center

Should have played the 3-5-2 system that took us to the top. Playing lads in unfamiliar roles does not work and neither does playing people who only signed the day before and haven't trained with the team - Angry Andy

Kennedy costs points again. Time for a new no1 please Jim - Town fan

 
 
 

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