FC Halifax Town 1-2 Chesterfield: Shaymen knocked out of play-offs

FC Halifax Town were knocked out of the National League play-offs as they lost 2-1 at home to Chesterfield.

By Tom Scargill
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 9:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 9:49 pm
Halifax v Chesterfield
Halifax v Chesterfield

Former Town man Jeff King scored what proved the winner, adding to Danny Rowe's opener.

Matty Stenson got one back for Halifax, but Chesterfield held on and will face Solihull in Sunday's semi-final.

Town missed out on the play-offs altogether after defeat to Chesterfield on the final day of last season, and did so again here. A a sad end to a magnificent season.

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Jim Kellerman should have done better than shoot off target unmarked 15 yards out in the opening few minutes, but it was an early marker from The Spireites, who began well.

And after a brilliant run and shot by Calvin Miller was deflected behind, Rowe met a King corner with a precise header - their first goal in more than five hours.

Town had a corner a couple of minutes earlier, but Jesse Debrah's header and Matty Warburton's shot were blocked before Martin Woods fired wide.

If either side deserved to lead 20 minutes in, it was probably the visitors.

Town were looking for a chance to play in Billy Waters behind the Chesterfield defence from deep, with the hosts playing a fairly high line, but didn't get the execution right.

Halifax weren't able to dominate midfield like they had so often this season at The Shay, perhaps missing the dynamism and energy of Kian Spence, who was forced out of the side due to a late injury, replaced by Woods.

But the visitors looked the more controlled side, the one able to find a route to goal and penetrate the opposition, with left-back Miller a threat down that flank.

Halifax hadn't imposed themselves, not getting into a rhythm, not retaining possession.

Chesterfield were quicker and sharper, with Tom Whelan influential, finding space and getting on the ball in good areas.

Waters volleyed wide after Jesse Debrah nodded on a free-kick before Pete Wild was left fuming after Liam Mandeville escaped with a booking for a lunging tackle on Jack Senior, prompting a melee, both benches on their feet and boos from the home fans.

A couple of other strong tackles before it had raised the temperature too.

Town's half was summed up when Warburton tried to take a free-kick quickly, but his pass down the left was intercepted, and again when Senior's pass forward to Waters hit his team-mate in the face.

Chesterfield had come into the game bang out of form, and hadn't been brilliant, but had at least risen to the occasion. Halifax hadn't.

It was a bit better from Town after the break, offering more as an attacking threat, with Warburton curling a shot over from just inside the box.

It hadn't helped that Kieran Green clearly hadn't been fully fit. Ordinarily he'd have been the driving force in any fightback, but was withdrawn after less than an hour.

By now Halifax were starting to push Chesterfield back, but struggling to break them down, lacking the quality required.

Scott Loach was still to be tested, whereas Mandeville should have done better than shoot tamely at Sam Johnson from inside the box.

There was nothing tame about King's goal midway through the second-half though, a magnificent shot from a tight angle on the right.

It looked a long way back for Town now, but they got half way there almost immediately when a cross from the right was turned in by substitute Stenson at the far post - his first for the club.

The momentum was with The Shaymen now, who had some fire in their bellies and had restored some belief, with Woods coming to the fore in midfield.

Halifax were battling for every ball now, going down fighting, but it was left too late.

Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Debrah, Senior, Green (Stenson 56), Woods, Slew (Dearnley 77), Warburton, Gilmour, Waters. Subs not used: Bird, Swaby-Neavin, McDonagh.

Scorer: Stenson (69)

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 2

Chesterfield: Loach, Miller (Whittle 77), Maguire, Grimes, Williams, Kellerman, King, Whelan, Khan (McCourt 89), Rowe (Tyson 71), Mandeville. Subs not used: Denton, Rowley.

Scorers: Rowe (20), King (66)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 6

Referee: Scott Tallis

Attendance: 5,661 (2,063 away)

Town man of the match: Martin Woods, got better as the game went on, gave it everything in the heat of the battle.