Sutton 1-1 FC Halifax Town

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Dayle Southwell’s goal earned FC Halifax Town a creditable 1-1 draw at Sutton as The Shaymen’s impressive start to the season continued.

Town conceded first for only the second time this season through Kenny Davis’ free-kick, but Southwell brought them level with a fine finish soon afterwards.

Sutton lost in last season’s play-off semi-finals, so a draw here is no mean feat for Jamie Fullarton’s men.

It wasn’t a game that will linger long in the memory, but it is a result that should give Halifax plenty of encouragement ahead of Tuesday’s tough-looking trip to Wrexham. It won’t get any easier there.

An unchanged Town side looked to have more finesse about them in possession, with good movement from their front four when going forward.

Jordan Preston was the furthest forward for Halifax, and demonstrated decent hold-up play.

His cross proved just out of reach of Dayle Southwell near the penalty spot early on, with Southwell also losing his footing at the vital moment when trying to reach Matty Brown’s nod down from a corner.

Off the ball, Town kept their shape well and stood up to the battle against a tall, powerful and hard-working Sutton side.

Out of possession, Halifax were effectively asking Sutton whether they had the quality to break their visitors down, and the answer was no.

Too many times, Sutton attacks broke down through stray passes or lacking the craft to go through the white shirts they faced.

The Shaymen had a little more joy, with Ben Tomlinson’s final act before going off injured a delightful 25 yard volley from Southwell’s lay-off that pinged back off the post.

Town were alert and adept at the back, none more so than the commanding Brown, but never looked too stretched in a first-half that never got going.

Sutton ended the half with a nice move that ended with right-back Dale Bennett side-footing over from inside the area, but that was at odds with the hosts’ underwhelming opening 45.

Similarly to Boreham Wood, Town had nullified the home side, but just needed more going forward to complement it.

Just five shots off target from both sides told it’s own story of a subdued first-half.

There was soon an effort on target though when Davis struck an excellent free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards, but the concession of the free-kick was entirely avoidable, as Simon Lenighan lost the ball 30 yards out and gave away the set-piece attempting to atone for his error.

But that was cancelled out less than 10 minutes later when Southwell got the ball on the edge of the Sutton box before turning and blasting a precise low shot to goalkeeper Jamie Butler’s right.

That didn’t exactly open the floodgates to an end-to-end final quarter of the game though, with both teams swapping possession too regularly and neither showing enough quality, although substitute Tommy Wright’s late deflected shot wide evoked fears of a Boreham Wood style sucker-punch.

Sutton: Butler, Bennett, Beckwith, Brown (Taylor 67), Wishart, Eastmond, Davis (Cadogan 80), Clough, Bolarinwa, Drinan, Lafayette (Wright 67). Subs not used: Thomas, Beautyman.

Scorer: Davis (55)

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 2

Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Lenighan, Berrett, Tomlinson (Edwards 36), Southwell, Kosylo, Preston. Subs not used: Rowley, Maher, King, Odelusi.

Scorer: Southwell (63)

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Referee: Marc Edwards

Town man of the match: Matty Brown