Clitheroe 1-1 FC Halifax Town

Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson

FC Halifax Town were held to a 1-1 draw at Clitheroe in their fourth pre-season game of the summer.

Town took the lead through Dan Gardner’s stunning 30-yard strike in a blistering opening to the game but were pegged back two minutes later with a header that looped over Phil Senior.

Somehow the score wasn’t added to before half-time before the match petered out as both teams tired in the second-half.

Town have put plenty of distance between themselves and Clitheroe since they were both members of the Evo-Stik League, but the hosts briefly bridged the gap again with a hard-working performance.

Neil Aspin handed a start to centre-back Matt Clarke, currently on trial at the Shay, as well as Clitheroe old boy Alex Johnson, whose transfer to Town last summer included the arrangement of this fixture.

Clitheroe’s sloping pitch has seen some memorable battles with between the sides in recent years, and this warm-up game started as if league points depended on it in a frenetic opening half.

After the exchange of early opening goals, Clitheroe hit the post after a swift counter-attack before Town created three chances in as many minutes.

Johnson somehow failed to convert a chance a yard from goal after Kevin Holsgrove’s goalward header landed in his path before Clarke’s low shot from a corner was cleared off the line.

Keith Briggs, stand-in captain for the night and stand-out performer on the evening, played in Johnson, who then fired over.

The pace slowed as the game wore on, but Phil Senior was called upon to tip a looping header over the bar before Simon Ainge saw a header cleared off the line at the other end.

Youngster Jake Hibbs was given a 20-minute run-out, his first appearance since winning a contract at the club through the trial competition held over the summer, slotting into central midfield after replacing Adriano Moke.

The Shaymen visibly tired towards the end, understandably after another rigorous work-out in warm conditions, but may be grateful for such physical exertions by the time they take to the national spotlight at Cambridge.

Clitheroe:

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 2

Halifax: Senior, Toulson, St Juste, Briggs, Ainge, Clarke (Knowles 46), Moke (Hibbs 70), Williams, Holsgrove, Gardner, Johnson.

Scorer: Gardner (5)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 12

Corners: 6

Man of the match: Keith Briggs