FC Halifax Town 1-2 Dover
FC Halifax Town remain without a win in the National League after a dramatic 2-1 defeat at home to Dover, with two goals in injury-time.
Tom Denton’s equaliser appeared to have rescued a point after Mitch Brundle’s late opener, but substitute Toni Sho-Silva popped up with a last-gasp winner from a corner barely a minute after Denton’s goal - Town’s first in six hours of football.
Dover were the better side on the night, having the better chances and playing the better football, although neither side looked at their best.
A point would have counted as a good result for Town, but Billy Heath’s side desperately need a win to kick start their season. Defeat in such disappointing circumstances will be hard to take, especially after the euphoria of Denton’s added-time goal.
David Lynch started for the first time this season, but there was no such luck for Adam Morgan, who remained on the bench.
Dion Charles was fortunate to keep his place after a poor performance at Chester, but lasted only until half-time here following another underwhelming display.
Matty Kosylo was pretty much the sole attacking outlet for Town, a constant threat down the right flank, before he was switched to the left, with some good movement and direct runs with the ball. He just didn’t get it often enough, at least in the right areas.
He fired over from 25 yards early on, but other than that, Town were struggling to create much. Dover had pace and movement in attack but lacked incisiveness.
The exotically-named Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Femi Ilseanmi both went close for Dover in the first 10 minutes.
Jamie Allen was then denied by a smart save from Sam Johnson after a hopeful pass forward was inexplicably allowed to reach the forward four yards from goal.
Halifax were statuesque at the back from the next cross into their box, and stood and watched as left-back Ilseanmi drilled a shot just wide.
The Dover defender was the best player on the pitch; strong and quick with good stamina, although it said a lot about the game that the away team’s left-back was the stand-out performer.
Again Town’s main problem seemed to be retaining the ball for any meaningful length of time, with the hosts giving it away too often as Dover started to dominate. The visitors hadn’t done much to carve Town open, but it had been of Halifax’s own making that chances had appeared.
The high balls up to Tom Denton weren’t working either, with his flick-ons either falling to no-one or not being used by their recipients.
Kosylo was lively every time he got the ball, but needed more team-mates to be on his wavelength to make any impact; the five-hour mark without a goal came and went with no sign of it ending.
It hadn’t been a repeat of the first-half at Barrow, but Town were second best.
Allen saw an audacious shot crash off the bar from 35 yards out just after the restart with the help of Johnson’s fingertips, and there were further efforts from range as Dover maintained control of the contest.
The biggest cheer of the night so far came for the introduction of Adam Morgan after an hour for the below-par Bohan Dixon, with Town in need of the forward’s maverick abilities.
Kosylo had a shot cleared off the line as Town did at least offer more of a threat going forward thanks to the impact of Josh Macdonald.
But Dover hit the bar again after a goalmouth scramble, with Town’s goal leading an increasingly charmed life and a point looking an increasingly good result.
Kosylo had another couple of efforts wide as the hosts grew in confidence in what was a much better second-half.
But moments after Macdonald just missed connecting with a low cross at one end, Brundle headed in Ilseanmi’s cross at the other end to hand Dover what looked like a gut-wrenching winner.
Denton headed in Josh Wilde’s high cross from six yards to finally get The Shaymen up and running, but Halifax were left shell-shocked when a corner was headed down and scrambled in by Sho-Silva.
Halifax: Johnson, Moyo, Garner, Brown, Wilde, Kosylo, Lynch, Dixon (Morgan 59), Oliver, Charles (Macdonald 46), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, McManus, Tomlinson.
Scorer: Denton (90)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 3
Dover: Walker, Passley, Parry, Essam, Ilseanmi, Brundle, Gallifuoco, Nortey (Pinnock 78), Bird (Sho-Silva 68), Allen, Richards (Danie 74). Subs not used: Essuman, Adebowale.
Scorer: Brundle (87)
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 11
Referee: Marc Edwards
Town man of the match: Matty Kosylo