FC Halifax Town 1-0 Chester

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Neil Aspin’s Gateshead will visit the Shay in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy after Halifax saw off Chester 1-0 at The Shay.

In front of the watching Aspin, Jordan Burrow’s first goal in 10 games handed Town the lead on the verge of half-time.

Aspin will have noted Town’s work-rate, organisation and considerable threat on the counter-attack, but may well fancy his chances of coming back to haunt his old club in what promises to be an eagerly-anticipated return.

The road to Wembley got a bit muddy, but the decision to put the tie back 24 hours paid dividends as The Shaymen edged through to the last eight for the second successive season.

Chester came into the game with one win in their last 11 league games, and for the most part you could see why.

You could also see why Town are still unbeaten under Jim Harvey, although Forest Green will test that proud record in three days’ time.

Town preferred the direct route from the off, loading balls up to Jordan Burrow and Richard Peniket, with the impressive Josh Macdonald, in for the presumed injured James Bolton, buzzing around them.

The winger latched on to Burrow’s nod down only for his cross to fizz through the box before Burrow then headed wide from close range after Kingsley James’ cross back into the danger zone.

Chester attacked with more build-up and cohesion, possessing some sharp, tricky players but who mostly only threatened when sloppy defending by Town allowed them to.

John Rooney, already living up to the family name with a bright start, brought a good low save by Sam Johnson at his near post before the lively Macdonald pounced on hesitancy by Jon Hunt and crossed to the unmarked Sam Walker, who let the ball run under his feet.

Both sides were not backward in coming forward - although neither did so with too much finesse - with eight corners in the first 20 minutes; from the ninth, Craig Mahon was left worryingly unmarked before Johnson held his driven shot.

It was a good job Kevin Roberts had that brief spell as a third centre-back against Welling as he was forced in-field alongside Matty Brown after Hamza Bencherif had to go off injured after 27 minutes, with Jake Hibbs coming in at right-back, although Roberts and Brown were watertight from then on.

The first-half appeared to be meandering to an uneventful close before an overhead kick by James presented Burrow with a chance inside the six-yard box - he could hardly miss, and ended a goal drought that stretched back to the Dover win in late November.

Ross Hannah’s curling shot just shy of the far post shortly after the restart was the best Chester could muster for an immediate response, but Town appeared more inhibited than they had been prior to the interval; like against Welling, the first priority seemed to be protecting the lead rather than adding to it, although they protected it with a great deal of hard graft.

Roberts and Richard Peniket both produced excellent blocks inside the Halifax box as Chester attacks began to come in waves.

Peniket, who would be taken off soon afterwards for debutant Waide Fairhurst, then had a glorious chance to put clear daylight between Town and Chester and for that comeback goal he’s craving, but his shot was saved by Jon Worsnop after James’ hooked pass sent him clear.

If anything, Chester offered less of a threat the more the second-half went on, with Town effectively nullifying the visitors and arguably looking more likely to score themselves on the break; the harsh lesson of Welling had been learnt.

Another quick break, this time by substitute Connor Hughes, gave a chance to Burrow, but Worsnop reacted well to save his low shot across goal.

Johnson saved brilliantly from Rooney as Chester piled on the pressure with a flurry of late corners while Town were their own worst enemy with some infuriating mix-ups as they tried to break away.

They eventually did, but Hughes’ shot was saved before Burrow fired the rebound over.

Halifax: Johnson, Brown, Bencherif (Hibbs 27), Macdonald (Hughes 63), Roberts, James, Wroe, Walker, McManus, Burrow, Peniket (Fairhurst 70). Subs not used: Porter, Miller

Scorer: Burrow (45)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 7

Chester: Worsnop, Higgins, Hunt, Sharps, George (Lloyd 14), Mahon (Richards 71), Henegan (Hughes 51), Shaw, Chappel, Hannah, Rooney. Subs not used: Thompson, Hobson

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 10

Attendance: 878

Town man of the match: Josh Macdonald