Wrexham 0-0 FC Halifax Town

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FC Halifax Town have now gone six hours without conceding a goal after their 0-0 draw with Wrexham.

If this game was an audition for the 11 starting places against Bradford, then you’d imagine this side has a decent chance of being selected again.

While no-one did enough to make a match-winning difference, there was plenty of hard-work and discipline from the away side; the kind of characteristics they’ll need in abundance next week.

A point before the game didn’t look too bad a result for Town and as it turned out, was about right in a game in which neither side really did enough to warrant all three.

Halifax will know they’ll have to play better to stand any chance next Sunday, but at least go into the game with four consecutive clean sheets.

A fifth one on the spin would do very nicely indeed.

There’s no shortage of goals and talking-points at the Shay when these two teams meet, but pit them against one another at the Racecourse Ground and they seem to retreat into their shells.

Scott McManus was responsible for the only chances of a cagey opening spell, with one shot flying across goal after Lois Maynard’s marauding run and the other straight at keeper Andy Coughlin.

It didn’t take much to quieten the home crowd, who weren’t given much to get excited about after a subdued start by the hosts.

Wrexham’s defence looked vulnerable in the air against Scott Boden and especially Richard Peniket, while the extra Town man in midfield helped the visitors assert themselves in the middle third.

The hosts gradually found their feet though, with Andy Bishop squandering a great chance inside the area by skewing his shot wide.

Then from Blaine Hudson’s Matt Pearson-esque block from the Town man’s shot, Wes York launched a counter-attack but his cross was wasteful.

Neither side covered themselves in glory during a scrappy spell after half-an-hour as the ball was knocked around like a bomb that was about to explode.

Boden and Peniket looked lively with the ball at their feet around the Wrexham box, but mostly had to feed on scraps.

It was a similar story with the diminutive Elliott Durrell, who offered plenty of inventiveness on the ball but didn’t see enough of it.

Wes York then suddenly burst through on goal just before the break but Matt Glennon reacted well to kick away his low shot.

It had only been just over three weeks since these sides last met, and familiarity had clearly bred respect, with both teams only too aware of the damage the other could do given the chance.

And both nearly did soon after the interval, with crosses from Pearson and York both going astray after excellent approach play.

Boden’s cross then evaded Pearson and Peniket in the middle as Town started to break in-behind the Wrexham defence.

But so did the hosts in a much better start to the second half from both teams, with Bishop hitting the bar from Johnny Hunt’s cross.

It was as if someone had hit fast-forward, at least for a few minutes, after the first-half had been on pause.

Rather strangely, the Wrexham PA announcer chose the 14th minute of a busy second-half to mention striker Louis Moult had become a father yesterday; he’d had pretty much the entire first-half to make that announcement.

By now the game had reverted to a mostly fragmented contest with few chances and not enough quality on the ball.

Town’s back three of Simon Ainge, Steve Williams and Marc Roberts was giving little away and can’t fail to have impressed any watching Bradford scouts.

But with Roberts upfield having taken a long-throw, Wrexham broke down-field and produced the chance they’d been waiting 87 minutes for, only for the unmarked Durrell to scuff his shot six yards out from a fine cross.

Wrexham: Coughlin, Carrington, Hudson, Smith, Hunt (Jennings 74), Ashton, York (Keates 90), Clarke, Pearson, Durrell, Bishop. Subs not used: Tomassen, White, Rushton.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 5

Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Ainge, Williams, McManus, Maynard, Pearson (Smith 63), Marshall, Boden, Peniket. Subs not used: Senior, Bolton, Dyer, Schofield.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 4

Attendance: 3,421

Town man of the match: Simon Ainge