Stalemate as Town struggle

Halifax Town 0

Solihull Moors 0

Having lifted their game against Charlton, it was back down to earth with a bump for Town as they were forced to settle for a point from a goalless draw with unambitious Solihull last night.

The Shaymen began sluggishly, struggled to get their passing going and in the end were forced to play the ball as long as possible in a bid to get through a packed Moors defence.

The longer the game went the more elaborate the attempted passes became, resulting in an increasingly ugly spectacle.

And by the final whistle you could taste the frustration in the air as the Shaymen dropped another two points on home soil.

James Walshaw, signed on loan on Tuesday from Darlington, came in for his debut in place of Danny Holland in an otherwise unchanged side.

There was an early scare for Town when Michael Blackwood picked out the unmarked Richard Walker on the right side of the area but he flashed a shot across the face of goal and wide.

And there was a moment of panic at the other end when Stuart Pierpoint played a strong back pass goalwards and Moors keeper Jasbir Singh had to be alert to clear the danger.

But, in a subdued atmosphere compared to Sunday, it was a reasonably low key start to the game.

Moors could have gone ahead in the seventh minute when Phil Midworth crossed from the right for Walker, who headed goalwards, but Simon Eastwood got his left hand to the ball to tip it onto the post.

And moments later Aaron Hardy was in the right place at the right time to clear a corner off the line.

Understandably perhaps, the Shaymen were struggling to lift their game.

Hardy found Walshaw with a neat pass from halfway, but the new man was unable to get the ball through to Lee Gregory.

Walshaw then showed his strength, beating the full back before crossing for Gregory but the ball was a little high and the frontman headed over.

The loan man showed great feet to beat Midworth again after 20 minutes and crossed deep for Jamie Rainford, but his knock back on the volley was too high for Tom Baker.

Ryan Toulson, Gregory and Rainford combined down the right in a promising move, but the final pass, as so many had in the opening quarter, went frustratingly astray.

Gavin Hurren could have had the ball in the net for Solihull after 26 minutes but blazed wide from six yards - his blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag.

Baker nodded down for Simon Garner who played a great ball for Rainford to run onto, but he fired wide from the right.

Scott McManus, Walshaw and Garner combined down the left before the ball reached Gregory, but his shot was never going to curl enough to trouble Singh.

A simple long ball almost opened up the Moors defence five minutes before the break, Danny Lowe firing it forward for Gregory, whose attempt to lift it over the advancing keeper was headed clear.

A couple of minutes later Gregory did brilliantly to control an Eastwood clearance and beat Pierpoint only to drag his 15-yard effort wide of the target.

And before the break McManus tried his luck from wide on the left, the ball drifting - much as the half had done - wide of the target.

Neil Aspin made a double change at the start of the second half, Danny Holland and Jason St Juste going on for Hardy and Rainford.

But, and it was nothing to do with the personnel, little changed as the Shaymen continued to labour.

Walshaw almost capitalised as the Solihull defenders were unable to get headers right.

Garner won back possession just outside the Moors area and his pass to Gregory slipped through towards goal, but no one was there to capitalise.

The midfielder played a great ball through to Walshaw whose low cross from the left was cleared.

Solihull’s players were not afraid of going to ground under the slightest of touches either, which only added to the Shaymen’s frustration.

As did a sharp one handed save from Singh to deny Gregory who had latched onto Walshaw’s perfectly weighted 57th-minute pass.

The game was meandering, with Town enjoying the bulk of possession but unable to do anything with it.

A foul on St Juste wide on the left gave Baker the chance to swing in a free kick, but it was easily cleared.

Ryan Toulson’s right wing cross found Walshaw at the far post but his header bounced off the back of a defender and was booted away.

And the Shaymen were almost made to pay after 65 minutes when Lee Morris broke down the right and fed Blackwood in space on the left but he pulled his shot across goal and wide of the far post.

That was a rare display of attacking intent from Solihull who were content to sit back and soak up everything the Shaymen had to offer.

Town almost broke the deadlock with nine minutes remaining as Holland nodded down a Garner pass for Baker, but his shot grazed the top of the bar on its way over.

Town forced a couple of late corners which came to nothing and there was mayhem when Junior English went down clutching his face as Gregory left him standing, the referee calling a halt to play because it was a head injury with the Shaymen surging into the Solihull half.

Aspin was hopping mad on he sidelines while Baker complained bitterly on the pitch.

There was a chance from a left wing cross that was nodded on by Gregory for Holland, but he was unable to get enough on the ball to beat the keeper.

And Holland was onside - and denied by the keeper - when he got on the end of a Walshaw header in the seventh added minute.