Halifax Town 2
Gainsborough Trinity 2
Town’s seven match winning run - and bid to move up to second in Blue Square Bet North - ended as they were held to a draw by Gainsborough at the Shay last night,
Town had taken a seventh minute lead through Lee Gregory and completely bossed the first half.
But they failed to take any further chances and were pegged back on the stroke of half time when Andrew Boyce bundled home.
Gainsborough went ahead just before the hour mark when Paul Connor struck.
And it was left to Simon Garner to rescue a point with an emphatic close range finish 17 minutes from the end.
Not surprisingly, Town boss Neil Aspin named an unchanged starting line up for the game here days after the 3-1 win at Vauxhall Motors.
And that meant former Leeds United reserve Will Hatfield had to wait for his debut having sat on the bench on Merseyside.
Gregory won the first corner of the game inside the opening 60 seconds which Danny Lowe swung across but the Trinity defence cleared.
Scott McManus caused early problems for the visitors down the left with his pace while it was Lee Riley’s long throws that caused the first potential difficulty for the Shaymen, although they handled the first of them well.
And Town broke the deadlock after seven minutes when Garner picked up possession 10 yards inside the Trinity half and rolled a pass through for Gregory who curled his right footed shot inside the far post.
Liam Hogan found Gregory with a 60 yard pass three minutes later but the Town scorer’s cross was far too strong for Danny Holland to control.
Former Town defender Kevin Sandwith had an embarrassing moment close to halfway when the ball ran into touch off his shin.
But he almost redeemed himself with a great cross into the box, albeit after Trinity had been wrongly awarded a throw in on the left, with Lowe forced to stretch out a left foot to deny Paul Connor.
A Ryan Toulson long throw from the right bounced twice in the Gainsborough area before keeper Michael Emery eventually claimed.
James Dean managed to get away from his marker midway through the first half but pulled his shot across the face of goal and well wide.
Moments later Dean was released down the right by Luke Ashworth and crossed first time but just too high for Gregory six yards out.
Dean was in the thick of the action and played a great ball through for Danny Holland whose well struck effort was turned round the post by the keeper.
And when the resulting corner was cleared as far as Liam Needham on the edge of the area it took a deflection off a defender to keep it out.
Emery had to be brave to dive at the feet of McManus soon after as the Shaymen pressed for a second goal.
Jason St Juste replaced the injured Gregory on the half hour and won a corner after his first run down the left.
Gainsborough had to wait until the 33rd minute for their first meaningful attack, Simon Eastwood saving with his feet from Gavin Cowan and Needham blocking a Ryan Kendal shot.
Holland was overstretching as he tried to get on the end of a Garner corner that had been flicked towards the far post by a defender.
Having been so far on top, the Shaymen were pegged back in first half stoppage time when they switched off at a free kick, Sandwith crossed from the left and Boyce bundled it home at the far post.
After a stuttering start to the second half Town burst into life with St Juste’s shot deflected behind for a corner.
And when St Juste was sent clear by Holland, after initial good work by McManus, the Trinity defence was at full stretch as it cleared.
The tricky winger helped get Gainsborough right back Adam Watts booked for a foul that halted another run.
And he had a great chance to put Town back in front when he was released again by Holland and managed to turn in the area only to send a right footed effort wide.
Trinity enjoyed a good spell of possession, and made it count after 57 minutes when Leon Mettam found himself in space on the left of the Town box and laid it back for Connor who fired home.
The Shaymen responded by forcing a couple of corners on the left but were unable to get anything from either of them.
And substitute Cameron Darkwah hammered in a low shot from 25 yards that had Emery watching anxiously as it flashed past the post.
Aspin made his final change midway through the half when Hatfield finally made his Town debut.
And he made an immediate impression with a neat pass for Garner, but the midfielder screwed his left footed shot wide.
Sandwith followed fellow full back Watts into the book for a crude challenge on Darkwah and Garner had an effort deflected over moments later.
The equaliser arrived after 73 minutes when McManus played a ball in for Needham on the left and he crossed first time.
Dean picked it up with his back to goal and the ball squirted back for Garner who lashed it home from eight yards.
Dean then had a goalbound header blocked at one end while Eastwood saved well from Kendal as Trinity threatened.
Lowe fired in an 88th minute free kick which was cleared as far as Garber whose cross was headed wide by Hogan.
Darkwah went on a run before finding St Juste who won a corner on the left, and when Gainsborough cleared Lowe hammered in a 30-yard effort that flashed wide.
But neither side was able to break the deadlock.