Torquay 0-0 FC Halifax Town

editorial image

FC Halifax Town remain outside the Vanarama National League relegation zone after playing out a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Torquay.

After withstanding a lot of early pressure, the closest the Shaymen came to breaking the deadlock themselves came just before half-time through leading scorer Jordan Burrow and in the 82nd minute when substitute Sam Walker was denied by Torquay keeper Brendan Moore.

Jim Harvey made a single change to the side that triumphed in the FA Trophy semi-final first leg against Nantwich Town, as Sam Walker dropped to the subs bench to be replaced by Richard Peniket who joined Jordan Burrow and Waide Fairhurst as part of an attacking front three.

Shaymen skipper Nicky Wroe and Fairhurst both lined up for the Shaymen against their former club, whilst Halifax-born Danny Racchi – who made four appearances for Town earlier in the season – featured in the Gulls’ starting line-up.

The two sides went into the game separated by two league places and two points, but it was the Gulls who started the brighter, as the Shaymen were forced to defend early on as Wroe blocked a 15-yard shot from Torquay’s Josh Rees inside the opening minute.

On five minutes, the Gulls went on the attack again as Aman Verma produced a long range effort that sailed over the cross bar.

As the half wore on, the hosts forced the Shaymen into conceding a succession of corners, as they continued to put them under pressure.

In the 15th minute, Town keeper Sam Johnson was called into action when he produced a smart stop to deny Torquay striker Andre Wright.

Two minutes later, Shaun Harrad charged down a drop-kick from Johnson but, thankfully for the Shaymen custodian, the ball flew over the bar for a goal-kick.

The Shaymen’s first real effort at goal came on 22 minutes when Kingsley James attempted an angled effort that was gathered comfortably by Torquay’s on-loan American goalkeeper Brendan Moore.

Town were possibly a tad fortunate not to have fallen behind in the 25th minute when Wright headed a Dan Butler across the face of goal.

Fairhurst threatened for the Shaymen on 33 minutes, when he forced a save from Moore that was scrambled away to safety.

Towards the end of the first half, Town began to get a foothold in the game and enjoyed a good spell of possession.

However, they found themselves on the back foot again in the 40th minute when Verma blasted over again for Torquay.

Two minutes before the break, Burrow fired wide with a shot on the turn – with the goal at his mercy – after being set up by Peniket as the score remained goalless at half-time.

Both sides made a slow start to the second half, as the first chance fell to Torquay’s Rees who

missed the target on 53 minutes.

A minute later, referee Constantine Hatzidakis issued the game’s first yellow card to the Gulls Courtney Richards for a challenge on Town’s Scott McManus.

Former Shaymen midfielder Racchi proved to be a constant thorn in the side of his former club, as a number of searching passes which he made from his deep –lying playmaker role asked a lot of questions of the Shaymen’s defence.

In the 75th minute, Torquay substitute Toby Ajala went off on a darting run into the Town penalty area – only to be stopped in his tracks by Matty Brown.

With eight minutes to go, James picked out an unmarked Sam Walker who tested Gulls’ keeper Moore with an effort that the American turned around the post for a corner.

Town survived a late scare following a corner from Racchi in the 90th minute before Johnson was called upon to deny Richards in injury time, as the two sides drew a blank.

Torquay (4-1-2-1-2): Moore, Berry, A MacDonald, Smith, Butler, Racchi, Rees (Chaney 81), Richards, Verma, Wright (Allen 61), Harrad (Ajala 61)

Subs not used: Fisher, Gerring

Scorers:

Shots on Target: 2

Shots off Target: 9

Corners: 5

Halifax (4-3-1-2): Johnson, Bolton, Brown, Bencherif, McManus, Roberts, Wroe, James (Hibbs 84), Fairhurst (J MacDonald 66), Peniket, Burrow (Walker 66)

Subs not used: Porter, S McDonald

Scorers:

Shots on Target: 2

Shots off Target: 1

Corners: 3

Attendance: 1,664

Town man of the match: Kingsley James