FC Halifax Town 1-2 Harrogate

FC Halifax Town v Harrogate
FC Halifax Town v Harrogate

A brace by Mark Beck saw Harrogate knock FC Halifax Town out of the FA Cup 2-1 at The Shay.

Beck's early goal gave the visitors a deserved half-time lead, and after Niall Maher had brought Halifax level, Beck struck again.

Town's goal looked to have swung the tie their way just after half-time following a hugely disappointing first-half in which Harrogate had played with far more finesse.

But The Shaymen never really recovered from Harrogate's second goal, and still look short of the side that made such a huge impression in the first two months of the campaign.

Cameron King missed out due to illness as Pete Wild deployed a midfield diamond in an attempt to get Town firing again following three consecutive blanks at The Shay.

Tobi Sho-Silva had a good chance to put Town in-front but waited too long to shoot after being played through by Maher, on his first start for over two months, and his effort was kept out by James Belshaw from a tight angle.

Two minutes later, that hesitancy was punished when a cross from the right was headed onto his own bar by Liam Nolan, and Beck buried the loose ball from close range.

Town were guilty of poor control and decision-making, and a lack of movement, while the front-three did not get hold of the ball enough to move the team up the pitch.

Instead, the ball was sticking far more effectively with Harrogate, who played with confidence and fluidity, and not under enough pressure from the hosts.

Halifax, much like the atmosphere at The Shay, were flat and subdued. No-one was getting on the ball and making something happen with a dangerous run or pass.

Harrogate were sharper, quicker and more composed.

Liam McAlinden had been unable to affect the game in his number 10 role, while Dayle Southwell had failed to latch onto Town's passes in-behind the Harrogate defence.

As poor as they were, The Shaymen should have levelled when Jerome Binnom-Williams had a free header from a corner, but he inexplicably directed it over the bar from four yards.

If Halifax's diamond in midfield looked rough, Harrogate's needed no polishing as Jack latched onto a sloppy pass by Maher before waltzing through the defence too easily.

His shot was saved by Sam Johnson before the rebound was driven over by Josh Falkingham.

If the tie was going to be decided by who wanted it most, then Harrogate were going to be in the hat.

Former Halifax man Jack Muldoon should have done better when he was left unmarked to the right of the box just before half-time, but his shot was kicked away by Johnson.

Halifax were a different team after the interval though, and equalised seconds after the restart when Maher tapped in McAlinden's low cross at the far post.

Nolan then headed wide at close range from a corner before Binnom-Williams sent a shot flashing through the box.

Now The Shaymen were showing they were up for the cup.

But that man Beck was at it again as he deftly flicked the ball across goal from a low cross from the right, and Town's momentum was lost.

The Shaymen struggled to rouse themselves from that goal, and couldn't rediscover the zeal they had shown straight after the restart.

Sho-Silva sent two efforts way off target as Halifax made all the running but made hard work of creating clear-cut chances. Town were veering between going out of the cup with a fight or a whimper.

No home player seemed to be immune from an individual error as Town struggled to summon up any real pressure.

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Staunton, Binnom-Williams, Nolan, Cooper (J King 77), Maher (Earing 79), McAlinden, Sho-Silva, Southwell (Allen 68). Subs: Hanson, Appleyard.

Scorer: Maher (46)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 6

Harrogate: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Hall, W Smith, C Smith, Falkingham, Burrell, Kiernan (Thomson 80), Diamond, Muldoon (Stead 85), Beck. Subs not used: Emmett, Taylor, Cracknell, Bradley, Brown.

Scorer: Beck (8, 54)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 4

Attendance: 1,241 (288)

Referee: Andrew Miller

Town man of the match: Sam Johnson