Johnson’s strike keeps Town on track

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Histon 0 FC Halifax Town 1

Dale Johnson’s goal early in the second half maintained Town’s recent good run on a pulsating afternoon at the Glassworld Stadium.

Both sides served up a treat with Histon unlucky not to put a dent in the Shaymen’s recent record of clean sheets after twice seeing the ball scrambled clear.

But Neil Aspin’s side stuck to their task and were relieved winners at the end of a non-stop contest.

The only downside came deep in injury time when Town central defender Jason Jarrett was shown a red card following an incident with a Histon player as the visitors attempted to run down the clock.

Town had the first sighter on goal after three minutes when the ball dropped for Jon Worthington just outside the box but he sent a dipping shot wide.

Three minutes later Jason St Juste and Chris Worsley combined but Johnson was unable to get on the end of the low cross before Lee Gregory was adjudged to have fouled Zak Mills when the Town striker looked to get past the defender.

Histon striker Saul Otobo had a great chance to challenge Matt Glennon in the Town goal but he stood on the ball as it was played through to him and Town were able to clear.

Glennon and St Juste had a breakdown in communication as Otobo threatened again but Histon could not capitalise, while at the other end Worthington tried a snap shot that was blocked and cleared to safety.

Histon were looking to utilise the direct route to Town’s goal and Pearson Mwanyongo latched onto a ball over the top but his low angled shot was smothered by Glennon.

Gregory and Mills tangled for a second time in the Histon box but again the home player got the verdict as both sides contributed to a lively opening period.

Gregory then picked up on a poor defensive header but lifted his shot well over but it was the hosts who almost broke the deadlock after 26 minutes when Mwanyongo set Otobo free but Glennon stretched to make the save.

Town took play up to the other end and Gregory should have done better after turning his man, Johnson failing to get any power on the header as the ball looped up to him.

Gregory was then denied again and his frustration got the better of him and he found his name in the referee’s notebook.

Both sides continued to trade blows, Histon wasting a free kick in a good position before Johnson tried his luck from a tight angle only for keeper Joe Mellings to make the save.

Quite how Histon didn’t go ahead just after the half hour is anybody’s guess as they saw one shot blocked, another cleared off the line and a third effort bounce down off the underside of the crossbar as Town’s goal led a charmed life.

They had another escape after 40 minutes when Otobo was allowed to pick the ball up in the box but again Glennon was equal to the task.

Whatever boss Neil Aspin said to his troops at the break certainly worked as Town ended the stalemate three minutes into the second half when Gregory showed persistence to get the better of his man on the edge of the box and squared for an unmarked Johnson to sweep the ball home.

Town continued to edge the exchanges but it was Histon who went close to level but Otobo was unable to finish after excellent work from Mwanyongo.

Town made a change when former Salford striker Osebi Abidaki replaced Johnson for his first appearance since being loaned back to the north west outfit, and his first action was to get to the byline but he was unable to pick out a teammate in the box as Mellings claimed the cross.

Minutes later he made a nuisance of himself in the heart of the Histon defence but Mellings was able to collect ahead of Worsley.

The referee booked St Juste and Marshall, presumably for dissent, at a Town free kick on the edge of the box but then almost evened things up by cautioning Histon skipper Adrain Sear for handball.

Town survived another scramble after 73 minutes and launched a counter attack but Abidaki was unable to steer the ball past the keeper and Histon cleared.

Home substitute Omar Folkes caused some problems when he came on and almost levelled with a curling shot over the bar.

Fellow substitute Claudiu Hoban then ran at the Town defence but pulled his shot wide.

There was still time for Town to suffer another late scare as Mills hammered a shot wide but Town were able to hold on despite Jarrett’s sending off.

Histon: Melling, Roberts, Hawkins, Mills, Fitzsimons, Dowie, Mwanyongo, Sear, Otobo, Konadu-Yiadom, Stevenson. Subs: Hoban, Thomson, Da Costa, Napier, Folkes.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Toulson, St Juste, Hogan, Jarrett, Lowe, Worsley, Marshall, Johnson, Gregory, Worthington. Subs: Senior, Bolland, McManus, Hackney, Abidaki

Referee: Richard Kendall.