FC Halifax Town 0-0 Chorley

FC Halifax Town v Chorley
FC Halifax Town v Chorley

FC Halifax Town were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home by struggling Chorley.

The visitors came to The Shay for a point, and got it after a dogged display. Town couldn't have asked for more of the ball, but didn't do enough with it,

This was the kind of fixture that repeatedly tripped Town up last season - a struggling side that defended in numbers, and fought for every ball.

And Halifax will see it as two-points dropped, although they remain top of the table.

Eyebrows were raised in the stands at the news Cameron King and Tobi Sho-Silva were on the bench, replaced by Jeff King and Dayle Southwell, starting for the first time since February. There was still no place for the injured Matty Brown.

Town will have known the visitors' approach, so their 5-4-1 formation won't have come as a surprise to Pete Wild. Halifax just had to work out how to break them down.

Liam McAlinden and Danny Williams were deployed high and wide on the flanks, with Jeff King in behind Southwell.

Town were the dominant side from the off, seeing the kind of possession that was the norm at The Shay as they climbed through the leagues under Neil Aspin. But that is the price of success for this Halifax side, who will increasingly be seen as a team to be contained and nullified by lower-half clubs if they stay among the league's pacesetters.

Halifax were patient, probing and precise as Chorley, with only one win so far this season, sat in and invited the home side to do their worst.

Charlie Cooper tried to dictate the play in midfield, and Town's full-backs tried to push forward, but there was no way through.

The first chance fell to Chorley as ex-Town loanee Marcus Carver's delicate lay-off found Louis Dodds, whose shot was turned behind by Sam Johnson.

While Town were the dominant side, the back door had to remain closed.

McAlinden was moved inside midway through an ineffective first 20-odd minutes from the hosts; Chorley had been disciplined and well-organised.

By the half-hour mark, a few Town fans were growing a little impatient at their side's approach, seen as too cautious and slow.

There was no room for Halifax's creative players to operate, with The Shaymen repeatedly forced to play either sideways or back.

Town's first shot on target wasn't until the 37th minute, a McAlinden free-kick straight at the keeper.

As soon as Town's top-scorer got within sight of goal, he was besieged by red shirts; it was that type of game.

Southwell had been crowded out, ditto McAlinden. Jeff King and Williams were smothered.

Nil-nil at half-time was far from a disaster, but it seemed to be crying out for someone of Cameron King's creativity and spark.

It was an attack v defence training drill masquerading as a football match as Town had almost sole possession of the ball, but chances remained elusive.

Cameron King was on before the hour mark, shortly before McAlinden sent a tremendous shot crashing just over from outside the box.

It was another 10 minutes until Williams, his last act before being replaced by Jamie Allen, brought a routine save from Matt Urwin, who remained severely under-tested in the Chorley net.

Jerome Binnom-Williams and Allen both got sight of goal and should have done better, but Chorley ran down the clock, slowed the game down and got the point they'd wanted from the start.

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Staunton, Binnom-Williams, Nolan (Sho-Silva 79), Cooper, McAlinden, J King (C King 58), Williams, Southwell. Subs not used: Appleyard, Maher.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 2

Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Meppen-Walters, Ross, Blakeman, Baines, Cottrell, Nortey, Dodds (O'Keefe 78), Carver (Holroyd 89), Massanka (A Newby 70). Subs not used: E Newby, Eccles.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 1

Corners: 1

Attendance: 2,117

Referee: Ben Speedie

Town man of the match: Michael Duckworth