Shaymen in a spot of bother

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Droylsden 2

Halifax Town 1

Town must have left the Butchers Arms Ground wondering how they did not get at least a draw from this game.

The answer was that they failed to make the most of their first half dominance as the sides turned round goalless - and the man in the middle.

Referee Buglass was the only man inside the ground who felt Tom Baker had handled the ball as he stooped to head a cross clear.

Sadly, his opinion is the only one that matters in the final analysis and Dan Gardner fired home what proved to be the winner from the spot.

It was a grave injustice.

Town had worked harder in the first half than in any other game this season to negate a side regarded as one of the best in the division by boss Neil Aspin.

They hassled and harried and were confident on the ball as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.

But they were unable to find a way through and there was always the nagging feeling that might come back to haunt them.

That nagging feeling proved to be justified.

Aspin brought back loan winger James Marwood and Scott McManus with Brett Renshaw and Jason St Juste dropping to a bench which included Tyrone Thompson who has rejoined the Shaymen on non contract terms.

A Simon Garner long ball forced home keeper Paul Phillips to race out of his area and head clear under pressure from Lee Gregory in the opening minute.

The Shaymen then had a couple of free kicks on the left following fouls on the tricky Marwood, but they were unable to profit from either.

Marwood was proving to be a major threat and it was his control and pass that sent Gregory away on the left, his shot eventually going behind for a corner off a defender.

The home side had to wait until the 16th minute for their first shot, Danny Rowe firing well wide from 20 yards after the tricky Jordan Gerrard’s initial effort had been blocked.

Within a minute, Marwood tried his luck from distance, but it lacked the power to trouble Phillips and soon after Gregory ran at the home defence before eventually losing possession on the edge of the area.

At the other end, Liam Hogan saw the danger when Dan Gardner crossed from the right and headed clear.

And when Droylsden won their first corner of the game after 27 minutes Phil Senior was there first with Baker completing the clearance.

The best chance of the opening half hour fell to the Shaymen when Gregory released McManus down the left.

He played a fine return pass to the Town striker whose shot was blocked back to Harry Winter but he lifted his effort onto the roof of the net.

And within a minute Baker picked up possession 30 yards out and unleashed a shot that dipped just too late to get under the bar.

Rowe got a 41st minute header on target, but Senior held onto the ball on his line and Hogan did well to clear a Carlos Logan cross as the home side threatened before the break.

And when Town struggled to clear a corner from the left Steve Hall swung his foot at the loose ball and sliced wide from eight yards when he really should have scored.

Town opened the second half brightly with Ryan Toulson playing in Garner whose first time shot was turned round the post for a corner.

At the other end, Gardner played in Dale Johnson whose shot was well blocked by Senior at the expense of a corner.

Gregory had more time than he realised after creating an opening in the area and sent an overhead kick rolling wide.

And it was the home side who finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when Rowe rolled the ball square for Dan Gardner who fired home from the edge of the area

Town almost hit back immediately with Garner picking out Gregory with a great cross field pass but the striker’s shot went across the face of goal and wide.

Logan, who started the game at left back before switching to right wing, cut in from the touchline and sent in a shot that stung Senior’s hands.

The Shaymen levelled 10 minutes after going behind after a poor clearance from Rowe landed at Toulson’s feet.

He controlled before curling a cross towards the edge of the six yard box and Gregory was there to head home.

Droylsden were gifted a chance to regain the lead when the ball came in from the right, Baker stooped to head it and was judged, extremely harshly, to have handled. Gardner made no mistake from the spot.

The referee failed to spot a handball at the other end, or a deflection to a St Juste shot which McManus pointed out to him and was promptly cautioned.

Gregory raced past a defender only to see his shot blocked by the keeper and the home side went straight to the other end and forced Hogan to clear the ball off the line from Hall.

Renshaw met Baker’s free kick from the right but his header was deflected behind for a corner.

Toulson’s 87th minute free kick was cleared as far as Hogan on the edge of the area but he was denied by the keeper.

But there was no way back and no reward for the Shaymen.