Worksop Town 1
FC Halifax Town 1
IF there is such a thing, this was a good draw.
It was away from home against a side still being touted as a possible threat to Town’s chances of claiming the Evo Stik Premier Division title - and the Shaymen had to come from behind.
The Shaymen were not at their best in the first half, although they were unfortunate to be trailing at the break to a Mikel Suarez header.
The man who gained them a share of the spoils was Tom Baker, coolly stroking home from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining.
They’d had chances before that and a couple after to have won the game.
But it was a hard slog on a pudding if a pitch that was only good for sucking the life out of the game and rendered decent football redundant.
As expected, Richard Marshall replaced the suspended Scott Phelan, although his return was marked by a third minute shot from distance that bounced into the car park.
At the other end Worksop twice had efforts cleared off the line in the opening 12 minutes.
Aaron Hardy got an important touch on a Suarez shot after nine minutes, taking the ball away from the target.
And three minutes later Luke Shiels rose well to meet a corner and head goalwards, Simon Garner doing his job on the line to clear.
Town had produced one flowing move, Tom Baker, Lee Gregory, Marshall and Dean combining well on the right, but it resulted in only a corner.
Garner smacked a free kick into the defensive wall after Dean had been brought down on the edge of the area after 16 minutes.
His delivery was better inside 60 seconds as he floated a good ball in for Mark Bower who headed narrowly over.
Town must have thought they had broken the deadlock after a third free kick came back off the wall to Garner who squared it for original taker Marshall but his beautifully-struck shot as saved at full stretch by Jon Worsnop to his right.
Having survived, Worksop went to the other end and took the lead from a Chris Bettney free-kick, Suarez rising highest to head home.
Town settled again with Dean and Gregory both turning in the area and firing in shots.
The temperature rose with some snappy challenges and some pushing and shoving - Bettney and Jamie Vardy tangled waiting for a corner.
And the Shaymen were a whisker away from levelling 10 minutes before the break when a Marshall corner was headed back towards goal and punched weakly by Worsnop, but Bower’s volley, as he fell backwards, went over.
The challenges kept coming with Liam Hogan booked for one on Suarez and Garner also cautioned, presumably for voicing his objection.
Both sides had opportunities at the start of the second half, Bettney firing in a shot that took a deflection before Jonathan Hedge saved and Gregory having a shot blocked after swapping passes with Vardy.
Gregory also sent over a left footed cross from the right after 52 minutes, but the ball was too high for Dean to capitalise at the far post.
The Shaymen should have had a penalty 10 minutes after the break when a corner was cleared back to Marshall who sent it into the box. Gregory flicked on in front of the keeper but, as Bower was about to nod home, he was shoved in the back. The referee spotted nothing.
Garner did well moments later to get to the ball and cross from the left but Baker and Holland were unable to capitalise.
And when Bower sent the ball forward Holland flicked it on for Gregory but his header floated into the keeper’s arms.
The Shaymen had a glorious chance in the 65th minute when Holland’s shot was blocked by a defender to Gregory, but he completely missed his kick.
And when Gregory helped on Aaron Hardy’s 71st minute flick Holland was denied by another fine save from Worsnop who got fingertips to the ball diving to his right.
A Worksop defender threw himself in front of Garner to block a well struck 79th-minute shot.
But Town were not to be denied and were awarded as clear a penalty as you are likely to see when Jamie Jackson brought down Vardy.
Baker kept his cool as he waited for a ball and smashed his spot kick beyond the keeper’s grasp.
After good work by Holland, Lowe played the ball in for Gregory whose spectacular overhead effort went into the keeper’s arms.
And when Danny Bacon dallied on the ball just inside his own area, Garner pounced, only to send a shot flying narrowly over the top.
Woksop looked to catch Town with a long ball down field, but Bower was alive to the danger and stuck out a leg to deny Ben Tomlinson a run on goal.
And there was an injury time scare from a corner when Luke Shiels jinked his way past a couple of challenges before finishing like a centre back with a sliced shot.