FC Halifax Town produced a spirited display as they drew 0-0 with Fylde at The Shay.
Halifax looked fired-up and in the mood to right the wrongs of last Saturday, producing a performance with plenty of commitment and hard work, although Town’s tireless first-half efforts waned after the interval as Fylde wrestled more control over the contest.
The Shaymen just lacked the required quality in the final third, but worked hard defensively to shut out a team who finished in the play-offs last season.
Town boss Jamie Fullarton recalled recently injured Josh Staunton and Michael Duckworth to the bench, presumably ahead of schedule, due to the paucity of other options, deprived as he was of five other first-team players.
It was a more aggressive, energetic Town than had started against Hartlepool, pressing high up the pitch and getting in Fylde’s faces.
Their approach was exemplified when James Berrett intercepted the ball near the halfway line and led a break four-on-three, before laying it wide to Jordan Preston, who fired narrowly over.
That came after Fylde had hit the bar with a bullet header from a corner, with the ball bouncing right on the line before being grabbed by Sam Johnson.
Sanmi Odelusi, who replaced Matty Kosylo, saw plenty of the ball coming in off the left flank, while Berrett was also influential in midfield.
Danny Philliskirk brought a regulation save from Johnson, but Fylde didn’t start with the same incisive look as Halifax, who were playing with a real urgency.
Top-scorer Danny Rowe drilled a low shot across goal after Johnson had kept out an effort moments earlier, with Fylde growing into the game as the first-half wore on. Jim Kellermann also went close with a rasping low strike that flashed just wide from 30 yards.
But the best chance of the half fell to Jonathan Edwards after superb tenacity from the impressive Odelusi to win the ball and play him through, but the Town striker’s shot was turned behind by Fylde keeper Jay Lynch one-on-one.
From the second corner that followed, captain Nathan Clarke, who marshalled the defence well alongside Niall Maher in Matty Brown’s absence, headed over under pressure from close range.
The visitors twice went close in the last five minutes of the opening half, with Rowe turning and shooting inside the box near the goal-line, bringing a smart save from Johnson, and Jordan Tunnicliffe heading just over after meeting a corner at the near post.
But Fullarton couldn’t really have asked much more from his side by half-time.
Philliskirk brought another save from Johnson with a shot from 15 yards just before the hour mark, with the momentum shifting towards Fylde, who were quicker and more productive on the ball.
The likes of Odelusi, Preston and Berrett saw less of the ball in the second-half, with the hosts getting shrugged off it or not keeping it well enough when trying to attack.
After a second period spent on the back foot for a fair chunk of it, Edwards almost edged Halifax ahead but his header was cleared off the line from three yards out.
Substitute Ashley Hemmings should have won it with practically the last kick, but scooped the ball over from close range after Rowe’s cross.
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Maher, Sellers, Lenighan, Berrett, Preston, Southwell, Odelusi (McLeod 82), Edwards. Subs not used: Rowley, King, Duckworth, Staunton.
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 5
Fylde: Lynch, Francis-Angol, Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Birch, Kellermann (Bond 78), Tasdemir (Hemmings 70), Cardle, Philliskirk, Croasdale, Rowe. Subs not used: Kane, Green, Brewitt.
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 12
Referee: Rebecca Welch
Town man of the match: Sam Johnson