Stockport 1-1 Halifax

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Tom Denton scored his sixth goal in four games as FC Halifax Town drew 1-1 at Stockport County.

Stockport chairman Richard Park said in his programme notes that the club did “everything we could” to entice Denton to Edgeley Park.

Maybe they should have tried a bit harder.

Denton maintained his record of scoring in every game this season but his goal was cancelled out by Stockport’s Scott Duxbury after half-time.

County are certainly the strongest side Town have faced so far this campaign and made Halifax work hard for their point.

But the same could be said of The Shaymen, who produced some good football going forward and some dogged defending when required.

That was without Danny Hone, who picked up a knock in the win over Worcester, meaning Nathan Hotte dropped back into defence alongside Scott Garner.

Town started with Denton as a lone striker, and it showed early on as the hosts set about their visitors with gusto, closing them down quickly and aggressively.

The respect Worcester had shown Town on Saturday certainly wasn’t repeated.

But Stockport were restricted to precious few openings, with Town coming closer in an otherwise incident-free first 20 minutes through Jordan Sinnott’s free-kick, which arrowed over from 30 yards.

There was a sense that Heath, who guided North Ferriby to a 1-1 draw here last season, was looking for his side to replicate Stockport’s up-and-at-em start as he barked “keep the tempo up, the tempo’s not high enough” from the touchline.

County should have taken the lead midway through the first-half but Josh Amis headed against the bar from six yards out at the far post from Gary Stopforth’s cross.

Sinnott then went closer as the game gradually came to life with a side-foot effort from 12 yards that was straight at Ben Hinchliffe after a good run and cross by Richard Peniket.

Halifax’s most profitable routes to goal so far this season - Josh Macdonald and Denton - had been effectively closed off by County until the Town winger’s low cross rolled through a crowded box before being tapped-in at the far post by the Halifax striker.

His knack of being in the right place at the right time comes in very handy sometimes.

An effectively-deployed offside trap shortly afterwards drew a vigorous round of applause from Heath, now enjoying his evening a lot more.

Town now looked more assured in possession and more confident at the back after the odd early wobble, while Stockport had the air of a team in need of a half-time pep-talk.

While Halifax had got better as the half went on, Stockport had got worse.

Courtney Meppen-Walters volleyed over from a corner shortly after the interval, with County resurgent enough to warrant Heath instigating a shift to 3-5-2.

Perhaps the Town boss could see what was coming as a long, flighted free-kick from Mark Ross was met at the far post by Duxbury, who beat his marker too easily before guiding a header back across Steve Drench into the opposite corner with the hosts’ first effort on target.

This was a test now for The Shaymen, with the goal geeing-up the home crowd and their team; that pep-talk had worked a treat.

Heath continued to applaud his encouragement, ordering his players to “lift it again”, but the applause of the home supporters helped the hosts gain some momentum in what was becoming an increasingly watchable contest.

Long-range efforts by Kevin Roberts and Lewis Montrose both went off target before a jinking run by Sinnott following Denton’s exquisite lay-off ended with a curling shot that forced Hinchliffe into a full-stretch save.

Sinnott then squandered his best chance of the night when he volleyed narrowly over after meeting a superb pull-back by Macdonald eight yards out.

Stockport: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Duxbury (Carney 83), Meppen-Walters, Clarke, Ross, Stopforth, Montrose, Amis, Marsden (Lloyd 75), Thomas (Spencer 46). Subs not used: Ormson, Rule.

Scorer: Duxbury (55)

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Halifax: Drench, Moyo, Hotte, Garner, Wilde (Hughes 90), Macdonald, Roberts, Hibbs, Sinnott, Peniket (Burrow 71), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Kosylo, Barrows.

Scorer: Denton (33)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 1

Attendance: 3,086

Town man of the match: Scott Garner

Referee: David McNamara