Town forced to settle for share of the spoils

Hyde FC 1

Halifax Town 1

Town became only the fifth visiting side to deny leaders Hyde FC maximum points in a Blue Square Bet North match this season.

But far from being happy with a share of the spoils that saw them move back up to third in the table, the Shaymen looked disappointed to have only collected a single point from a cracking game.

Neil Aspin’s side were by far the better side in the first half but had only a James Dean goal to show for their considerable efforts.

Hyde were more dangerous after the break, but their equaliser a little more than a minute after the restart was eminently preventable.

And Town had a gilt edged chance late on when new loan signing Matty Crooks worked himself into a great position but was unable to hit the target.

Hyde have clearly been the best side the Shaymen have faced this term, but Aspin’s men have taken four points off them.

The Manchester side are now 11 points clear at the top of the table and surely destined to claim the solitary automatic promotion place available.

But the way the Shaymen have performed against them ought to give them the confidence they need to go on and secure a place in the play offs.

Jamie Rainford, who looked lively as a second half substitute against Harrogate, was promoted to the starting line up in place of Aron Wint.

Aaron Hardy also returned, replacing suspended Ryan Toulson, while new loan signing Crooks was named on the bench.

And the Shaymen looked lively early on, zipping the ball round well and creating the first real opening when Liam Needham found Rainford on the left. He cut inside but blasted his shot over the bar.

At the other end, Reece Gray threatened to break clear before Liam Hogan showed great pace and stuck out a foot to take the ball from him.

Moments later Scott Spencer’s low free kick took a deflection off a defender but Simon Eastwood had time to change direction and collect.

Town built patiently down the left in the 10th minute, Simon Garner finding Scott McManus whose whipped in cross was met by Danny Holland, but home keeper David Carnell got a touch to it to concede the first corner of the game.

Hyde struggled to clear Tom Baker’s corner that followed and the Shaymen went ahead soon after with a 12th minute strike.

McManus, who had provided the passes for each of the Shaymen’s goals seven days earlier, picked out James Dean on the right.

The big striker had his back to goal and a defender behind him but managed to turn and fire a low shot into the bottom corner.

Baker almost played Rainford in moments later but the former Chester man was flagged offside. He managed to object to the decision with such ferocity that he became the first player to go into the referee’s notebook.

Holland played a square ball to Baker after 18 minutes but the midfelder’s long range effort flew over the bar.

Hyde were effectively kept at arms length by the Town defence, the most dangerous moment coming on the half hour when Adam Griffin fired a cross in from the left.

The ball managed to elude everyone, although it did look like Danny Lowe had got a touch despite the award of a goal kick.

Eastwood conceded a free kick on the edge of his area 10 minutes before the break when he tumbled out of the box with the ball in his hands.

But Spencer’s initial kick was blocked by the wall and Reece Gray’s follow up was charged down by the Town defence.

Baker picked up Dean on the right in the 39th minute and the goalscorer won a corner which was taken short and rather wasted as the Town attackers were hustled off the ball.

Hyde won an injury time corner on the left but Dean and Holland combined to clear.

But they attacked again and Town needed Lowe to produce a couple of blocks to deny Gray and Spencer in quick succession.

The Shaymen made the worst possible start to the second half as Hyde levelled 70 seconds after the restart.

The home side were given a throw in on the left after Liam Hogan had been forced to hurry when Eastwood stayed on his line as the ball was played forward.

The ball was played in deep to the right where Chris Worsley headed home from close range.

Moments later Eastwood was troubled by a Spencer 30-yarder, the ball spinning out of his hands and just over the bar.

Hyde had their tails up and Hogan had to clear a Gray cross while Callum Byrne fired over from the edge of the area.

Central defender Gianluca Havern headed over from a corner in the 57th minute and Lowe headed a Byrne shot clear.

Lowe came to Town’s rescue again, denying Spencer in the area after half time substitute Wint had given the ball away.

The young loanee redeemed himself moments later when he controlled a McManus cross from the left and laid it back for Baker whose well struck left foot shot was saved.

Dean was onside when he got his head to a Baker cross but could not bring it under control and McManus found Dean on the left soon after but the cross eluded everyone.

Town threatened again from a Lowe free kick that was flicked on by Hogan, but Dean’s header bounced a yard wide.

Both sides had the ball in decent areas without being able to make anything of it, full back Andy Pearson, up for a free kick, having the best of the opportunities as he headed over from 10 yards

At the other end Baker did well to dispossess Byrne but could not hit the target from the edge of the area.

Gray sent a 79th minute piledriver goalwards from the edge of the area but straight at Eastwood who held onto it.

Hogan slid in to steal the ball from Godwin Abadaki on the edge of the Town box as the game entered its final five minutes

Dean’s cross from the right was cleared and a hastily-taken Town free kick almost cost them dearly as the ball found its way to Pearson who fired over.

The Shaymen had a glorious chance to win it with 60 seconds remaining when the ball was flicked on by Dean for Crooks but the youngster scooped his shot over the bar from eight yards.

There was a frantic end to the contest as Crooks flicked on for Dean who could not get is shot away, then Lowe had to be alert to deny Spencer.