Kidderminster 0-0 FC Halifax Town

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FC Halifax Town extended their unbeaten league start to 2015 with a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Kidderminster.

Given the points and games played for both these sides, a point is a better result for Halifax than the hosts, with Town now seven points off the top five but with five games in hand.

Santa Claus had yet to come down the chimney when Kidderminster last won at home, while the Christmas ads had just about started on TV when they last kept a home league clean sheet against Altrincham in September.

But the hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock, giving Halifax a scare or two after the restart.

Aggborough was the scene for one of the most memorable days in the old Halifax Town’s history when Geoff Horsfield and Jamie Paterson scored in a 2-0 win to seal promotion to the Football League in 1998.

Town were outplayed on their previous visit here, losing 2-0 on a freezing cold Tuesday night 17 months ago.

But Town stood up well to the hosts’ attack and showed plenty of resilience, with the defence ably led by captain fantastic Marc Roberts.

If any of the Town squad watch Holby City, they’ll have to rely on iPlayer over the next few weeks, with this game the first of nine matches be played on consecutive Tuesdays and Saturdays.

But they’ll go into that run of matches in good spirits, having lost only once since the turn of the year.

Referee Simon Bennett had previously sent-off Marc Roberts in Town’s 2-2 draw with Wrexham, a decision Neil Aspin described as “absolutely unbelievable” after he had also been dismissed for his protestations.

And it wasn’t long before the Town boss was asking questions of the official again after the visitors appealed for a penalty after a trip on Richard Peniket only for a free-kick to be given the other way for offside.

That was the main talking point of a pretty drab opening spell during which it was fairly apparent why Kidderminster had failed to score in five of their last seven games.

It says much of Kidderminster’s shyness in front of goal that Marvin Johnson is still their leading scorer, despite leaving the club to join Motherwell during the January transfer window.

Front two Lee Hughes and Danny Wright were given rudimentary service, mostly feeding on high balls from defence, with the only shot on target in the first 20 minutes a pea-roller from Hughes that Glennon could have thrown his cap on.

The middle third of the pitch was hardly conducive to playing the ball on the ground, it’s not just the Shay suffering a chronic grass shortage, prompting both sides opting to play safety first more often that not.

Peniket again appealed for a penalty midway through the opening half following an almighty scramble in the box but Mr Bennett awarded a goal kick much to the Town striker’s disappointment.

Peniket was then involved in a coming-together with keeper Danny Lewis after a sloppy header back by Josh Gowling, who appeared to shove the Town striker as he chased down the ball.

Peniket v Mr Bennett was quickly becoming the most watch-able duel of the game.

There was a dearth of chances from open-play but from a soft-looking free-kick, Aman Verma struck a thunderbolt of a shot which stung the palms of Matt Glennon.

The linesmen were also being kept busy as they bioth ruled goals out for offside shortly before the break.

With his first-half record with the officials, it was hardly surprising it was Peniket who had Town’s effort chalked off.

At the other end, Wright was also flagged offside when he nodded in after Glennon had produced an outstanding fingertip save from Hughes’ curling shot.

Again Neil Aspin didn’t waste any time at the interval in making changes, with Adam Smith and recent super sub Jamie Jackson coming on.

It wasn’t long until the Town boss had more reason to grumble at Mr Bennett after play was called back to deal with two injured players just as Smith was about to cross from the byline inside the penalty area.

But the changes didn’t have the desired effect immediately after the restart as Kidderminster launched some decent, if wayward, efforts at the Town goal.

Wright then spurned a good chance by heading straight at Glennon before Hughes headed off target from a corner.

The ball was coming back towards the Town box with increasing frequency as the hosts struggled to retain possession.

As is customary in such situations, Marc Roberts came to the fore with some commanding moments to help keep the hosts at bay.

It was difficult to keep count of the Peniket penalty appeals by now as another one was waved away following a grapple with Gowling.

After surviving that spell of Kidderminster pressure, the hosts next effort was self-inflicted by Town after a poor clearance by Glennon.

Wright bore down on goal before Glennon made amends with a good save, but in the ensuing scramble Kidderminster claimed there was a handball as James Bolton cleared Hughes’ effort off the line, with Halifax somehow escaping unscathed.

A point would have been a decent result beforehand, but was looking an increasingly desirable outcome as the second-half went on.

Tensions rose further after fairly mild-mannered flare-up between Wright and Graham Hutchison, with the Town defender pushing Wright after he claimed the Kidderminster forward had stamped on him.

Out of nothing, Peniket then burst into the box but sensing a glorious ending to a frustrating afternoon, went for goal rather than crossing for substitute Jack Muldoon and only won a corner.

After an impressive second-half, it was fitting Town’s first effort on goal came from Smith late on, but Lewis saved it comfortably.

Kidderminster: Lewis, Hodgkiss, Grimes, Gowling, Nicholson, Verma, Byrne, Gittings, Green (Refell 66), Hughes, Wright (Knowles 81). Subs not used: Reid, Tunnicliffe, Asante.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 6

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, M Roberts, Hutchison, McManus, Schofield (Muldoon 84), Maynard, Pearson, Marshall (Smith 46), Peniket, Hattersley (Jackson 46). Subs not used: Senior, K Roberts.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Attendance: 1,766

Town man of the match: Marc Roberts