FC Halifax Town 0-1 Harrogate

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town

Mark Beck's late goal saw Harrogate snatch a 1-0 win at FC Halifax Town.

The game looked to be heading to a goalless draw until Beck popped up with a gut-wrenching winner.

Halifax will feel they deserved at least a point from the game having made all the running in the second-half, but were beaten at home for only the second time this season in a result that will be hard to take.

Neither side were at their best, but Town shouldn't be too downhearted. They're still second in the table after what continues to be a terrific start to the season.

The teams exchanged the odd effort but not much else in a subdued first 15 minutes, with Charlie Cooper's long range shot whistling wide and Alex Bradley's effort tipped behind by Sam Johnson.

It was a scrappy opening, and a contest that struggled to get going, with both sides lacking the guile to unlock the other.

Halifax grew into the game quicker though, passing the ball with greater assurance and offering good movement.

By the half-hour mark, Harrogate keeper James Belshaw had had to react well to keep out a fierce low shot by Cooper and a Liam McAlinden free-kick within quick succession.

But Warren Burrell's ferocious shot which cracked off the crossbar and Ryan Fallowfield's disallowed goal for offside were warnings that the hosts needed to heed; Halifax had produced some bright moments, but had also been sloppy in possession at times, while the ball wasn't sticking up-front with Tobi Sho-Silva and McAlinden.

Beck also went close for Harrogate with a header that Johnson tipped behind. The momentum had shifted.

Town were unchanged from Saturday, but were disjointed in comparison to the Barnet victory, and lacking in the intensity to their play that carried them to that win.

Half-time came at a good time for the hosts, with Harrogate putting them under increasing pressure.

There had been no outlets for Halifax, with wingers Danny Williams and Jeff King not seeing the ball much down the flanks in advanced areas, and Sho-Silva snuffed out by Harrogate's two centre-backs.

The second-half started as cagily as the first, although Halifax carried the greater attacking intent.

There was a flash of inspiration when Michael Duckworth and King played a lovely one-two before the former's shot across goal was blocked.

But that was against the grain of a tight match, with little to choose between two sides who had only shown glimpses of their capabilities.

The excellent Duckworth again provided a spark with a tremendous long range strike that Belshaw turned behind, but it said much for the game that a right-back was one of the most potent goal threats.

Substitutes Dayle Southwell and Cameron King then combined as the latter saw a terrific effort whistle narrowly over.

The pressure on Harrogate was building, with Southwell's shot deflected behind before Belshaw failed to claim a corner, requiring two brave blocks to keep out Halifax shots in the aftermath.

But then came the sucker-punch as Beck poked in at the near post after a low right-wing cross had bobbled around ominously without a clearance.

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Staunton, Binnom-Williams, Nolan, Cooper, J King (C King 67), McAlinden, Williams (Southwell 72), Sho-Silva. Subs not used: Appleyard, Hanson, Earing.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 11

Corners: 5

Harrogate: Belshaw, Fallowfield, G Smith, Hall, W Smith, Burrell, Bradley (Brown 80), Thomson, Kiernan Diamond 70), Muldoon, Beck. Subs not used: Stead, Emmett, Cracknell.

Scorer: Beck (88)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 6

Attendance: 1,918 (86 away)

Referee: Simon Mather

Town man of the match: Michael Duckworth