FC Halifax Town 2-1 Bromley

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Ten-man FC Halifax Town produced a stirring display to beat Bromley 2-1 and move back into the National League play-off places.

It looked a matter of time until Town scored in the first-half, before referee Joseph Johnson controversially sent-off Scott Garner on the stroke of half-time.

But Halifax belied their disadvantage by twice taking the lead, through the mercurial, magnificent, mesmeric Matty Kosylo and then Tom Denton, either side of George Porter’s equaliser.

The Shaymen again displayed an admirable work ethic, especially after the interval, with the likes of Kosylo and Nathan Hotte exemplifying the bodies-on-the-line spirit; by the time Kosylo was taken off late on, he could barely drag himself off the pitch.

Despite the best efforts of the ref, it would have been a grievous injustice had Town not won; their effort and character alone earned them that.

Billy Heath said prior to the game that Town’s free week had come at a good time, and his side looked refreshed after their jaded display at Dagenham, forcing three corners in the first five minutes and bringing a save from David Gregory through Adam Morgan’s low curling effort.

Bromley were practically penned inside the Town half from the off, with lone striker Brett Williams needing binoculars to see his team-mates most of the time.

Adam Mekki forced Sam Johnson into a good save low to his left, but that was against the one-way traffic towards the Bromley goal; Town weren’t creating the chances to match their share of possession, but a Halifax goal seemed a question of when rather than if.

Kosylo was displaying excellent balance and some delightful footwork down the left, manipulating the ball as if he was having a kick-about with his mates, and constantly had the beating of right-back Ben Winter.

Denton was again aerially dominant as yet another opposition defence found the Town striker impossible to contain.

Gregory reacted superbly to keep out Morgan’s adroit flick goalward from close range before the keeper then saved Matty Brown’s bullet header from a corner, although Town protested unsuccessfully the ball had crossed the line, and held Kosylo’s low shot as 0-0 looked an increasingly unfair scoreline.

For their part, Bromley looked limited going forward in open play, with Brown and Garner hardly breaking into a sweat, in contrast to this time last week.

But the face of the game changed completely shortly before half-time when referee Johnson, who had hardly endeared himself to the home fans already with some poor decisions, generated a mixture of bewilderment and incredulity inside The Shay by sending Garner off after an aerial challenge with Williams.

The decision, apparently for an elbow to the Bromley striker, provoked sarcastic applause towards Johnson from an irate Heath and assistant Mark Carroll and vehement protests by the home side as Garner stormed down the tunnel.

To make matters even worse, Frankie Raymond, who might have already been booked for a challenge from behind on Hotte, was only shown a yellow for what looked like a terrible tackle on Kosylo moments after Garner’s dismissal.

Town were still the better team after the interval, despite the sending-off, with Kosylo and Josh Macdonald offering good support to lone front-man Denton.

And from Hotte’s incisive pass, Kosylo cut inside from the left near the byline before his cross-shot somehow sneaked past the otherwise impressive Gregory. Justice had been done.

But a few minutes later, Bromley levelled as substitute Porter robbed Cliff Moyo of the ball midway through the Town half and finished superbly under Johnson.

It was end-to-end stuff now as the outstanding Kosylo saw two efforts from inside the box saved by Gregory, and also produced an excellent tackle to prevent a Bromley counter-attack reaching the box.

So it was no surprise Town’s second also came from a Kosylo assist, as the diminutive winger charged down the left flank unchallenged by a terrified-looking Bromley defence and crossed for the unmarked Denton to nod in at the far post.

Williams and Porter both had chances to equalise in added time, but the first skied his effort from 10 yards before Johnson raced off his line to keep out the latter.

Halifax: Johnson, Moyo (Lynch 73), Garner, Brown, Wilde, Macdonald, Hotte, Oliver, Kosylo (Tomlinson 87), Morgan (McManus 44), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Charles.

Scorers: Kosylo (56), Denton (70)

Shots on target: 7

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 9

Bromley: Gregory, Winter, Holland, Johnson, Rees, Wanadio (Allen 77), Sutherland, Sterling, Raymond (Porter 56), Mekki (Dennis 70), Williams. Subs not used: Dunne, Higgs.

Scorer: Porter (62)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 4

Attendance: 1,760

Referee: Joseph Johnson

Town man of the match: Matty Kosylo