Nuneaton 1-2 FC Halifax Town

editorial image

Two goals from Jack Muldoon earned FC Halifax Town their first win in nine games as they beat Nuneaton 2-1.

Town finally ended their run of draws and it could be just in the nick of time as far as their play-off push is concerned.

Other results didn’t go Halifax’s way, which made this win even more crucial, with Muldoon scoring his first goals of the season.

Nuneaton hit back in the second-half though through substitute Andrew Brown, while Matt Glennon produced some vital saves as Halifax held on.

It remains to be seen whether this win can inspire a similar run that propelled The Shaymen into the top-five last season, but Town offered enough here to suggest they’ve far from given up hope of breaking into the play-offs.

Nuneaton came into the game not having conceded in 10 hours of football, but that incredible run only lasted three minutes longer when Muldoon reacted quickest to a flighted free-kick and slotted the ball low past Daniel Lincoln.

Town’s play-off hopes were boosted here last season thanks to Chris Smith’s 85th minute winner; they were much faster out of the blocks this time.

Lincoln is the sixth keeper Nuneaton have used this season, with first-choice stopper Max Crocombe keeping tabs on the game while on international duty with New Zealand but won’t have liked what he’ll have heard.

Town had started like they meant business and realised it was time to start turning those draws into wins.

Nuneaton didn’t look like a side with the fourth-best points tally over the last eight games in the division as they were pushed back.

Not many further chances fell in Town’s favour but their approach smacked of a side eager not to lose further, possibly irretrievable, ground on the top-five.

Nuneaton had the same gap to make up in the race for survival but couldn’t get going, with an impressive Town side and a blustery wind.

Adam Walker’s long-range shot midway through the first-half was all the hosts had mustered by that point, with Matt Glennon reacting well to parry it away.

Nuneaton’s first-half was then encapsulated by Conner Franklin’s free-kick, which was played down the left flank where he expected a team-mate to be only to watch it roll out for a goal kick.

The affect of the wind was seen when a Marc Roberts long throw was given even more velocity and caught out Lincoln, who failed to grasp it before Town tried to force the ball over the line, although the referee ignored the visitors’ protests that they had done.

There were a few murmurs of discontent among the home fans, who may have been expecting more from their side against a team without a win in eight.

But Nuneaton were their own worst enemy, sloppy in possession and getting no change out of the impressive Graham Hutchison and Steve Williams, making his first appearance in the league for two months - Town’s last away win at Telford.

Perhaps the inadvertent blast of We Are The Champions during the first-half was an attempt to pep up the hosts’ performance, with the PA system performing as poorly as the home side.

Town’s front-line had undergone a revamp, with Jamie Jackson, Danny Hattersley and Adam Smith all moved to the bench.

In their place, Muldoon and Scott Boden had looked lively and with a tad more luck and better timing of their runs, could have had more chances.

A flowing move shortly before the break had seen play switched from left to right with a series of one-touch passes before the marauding James Bolton’s shot was tipped over the bar.

The wind showed no signs of abating as the game wore on, but Nuneaton did start to pose one or two problems, with Bolton forced into some excellent defending after some dangerous crosses into the Town box.

So Muldoon’s second came at a good time as he confidently swept in a lovely low cross by Boden as the duo continued to dove-tail nicely.

Muldoon could have claimed his hat-trick after another delightful move culminated in Boden’s deft through ball but Nuneaton produced a last-gasp block to stop the goal-bound shot.

Only two sides had scored fewer away goals than Town in the division before the game, but they were making a mockery of that particular statistic.

However, from the resulting corner, Nuneaton broke and forced their own corner, which Town argued shouldn’t have been awarded, from which substitute Andrew Brown headed in.

The momentum had shifted now as Nuneaton suddenly looked like a team fighting for their Conference lives.

Glennon produced a fine save from substitute James Armson’s curling effort before the Town keeper reacted magnificently to dive low to his left and tip Brown’s shot behind.

This was a real test of Town’s mettle now, with Nuneaton pushing for an equaliser and the wind still swirling around the ground.

Nuneaton had a half-hearted penalty claim for a handball against Bolton but the hosts’ time and momentum had run out.

Nuneaton: Lincoln, Franklin, Dean, Streete, Armson (Dawson 87), Brown, Wheeler, Walker (Sodje 59), Rees, Ogleby (Brown 59), Jaanai. Subs not used: Cowan.

scorer: Brown (67)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 4

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, M Roberts, Hutchison, Williams, McManus, Maynard, Pearson, Schofield (Smith 84), Muldoon, Boden (Jackson 79). Subs not used: Senior, K Roberts, Hattersley.

Scorer: Muldoon (2, 60)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 4

Attendance: 947

Town man of the match: Jack Muldoon