Halifax slip-up in race for the play-offs with 2-0 home defeat against Barnet

FC Halifax Town slipped up in their pursuit of a play-off finish as they lost 2-0 to Barnet.
The Wham StadiumThe Wham Stadium
The Wham Stadium

Town were stung by The Bees' first-half goals from Danny Collinge and Callum Stead to leave their hopes of a top seven finish hanging in the balance.

It was not the way Halifax wanted to start the jam-packed week that will decide their fate, or begin their sojourn to Accrington.

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Halifax playing a home game at Stanley's Wham Stadium; who'd have seen that coming last Christmas?

Hopefully playing at a League Two ground becomes less of a novelty fairly soon, but this was a a game which showed the standards Town will have to meet if they're to earn promotion.

Two early goals in the space of four minutes from Barnet didn't help The Shaymen to feel at home in their new surroundings.

A long-throw by Jordan Cropper was flicked on before Collinge converted at the far post just ten minutes in.

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And then from a cross after a short corner, Stead was inexplicably left unmarked at the far post to head in.

Thirteen minutes in, 2-0 down. Wham, bam, boom. Not so much Careless Whisper but careless defending.

Only the reactions of Sam Johnson prevented a Barnet third when Stead got clean through to the left of the box, but the Shaymen skipper diverted his shot over the bar.

Things did get worse for Town though when Ryan Galvin was forced off injured.

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Right from the off, Barnet had been aggressive, strong and combative, nullifying The Shaymen and imposing themselves on the game.

The Bees hadn't been amazing or produced scintillating football, but they'd been very effective.

Halifax weren't averse to playing the ball up to Rob Harker, backing his aerial ability against Barnet's two centre-backs, and playing from there.

But it was only after the first 20 minutes or so that The Shaymen started to make inroads, taking too long to shake off their raggedness on the ball and not offering enough to trouble the second best team in the division.

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Town did improve as the opening half went on - an early effort off target by Jamie Cooke added to by Harker and Max Wright - but only after the damage had been done.

They should have halved the deficit towards the end of the first 45 but Adam Senior somehow put his header over from a free kick when unmarked five yards out.

Had he scored, it would have been deserved for Town's resurgence.

That momentum didn't really return after half-time, with Barnet showing no signs of relinquishing their grip on the scoreline.

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Town twice had players through on goal one-on-one before the hour mark but first Harker and then Wright hesitated too long and neither produced shots.

A five minute stoppage due to referee Michaek Barlow getting injured didn't help Halifax's search for momentum.

Barnet were well-drilled, organised and had Town where they wanted them.

The Shaymen didn't really look like getting anywhere closer than the arm's length away that the visitors had put them.

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Barnet came closest to scoring late on, with Johnson keeping out one shot before Kane Thomson-Sommers cleared another off the line.

Halifax: Johnson, Golden, Senior, Stott, Galvin (Evans 19), Hunter, Thomson-Sommers, Wright (George 61), Hoti (Jenkins 74), Cooke, Harker. Subs not used: Summerfield, Cosgrave.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 6

Barnet: Keeley, Cropper, Collinge, Okimo, Coker (Stevens 90), Gorman, Hartigan, Brunt, Stead (Kanu 41), O'Donkor (Freeman 62), Kabamba. Subs not used: Hall-Johnson, Maguire-Drew.

Scorer: Collinge (10), Stead (13)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 5

Referee: Michael Barlow

Attendance: 1,446 (118 away)

Town man of the match: Very difficult to pick anyone out who was above average. Sam Johnson made a very good save from Stead at 2-0 and did what he had to do well other than that.

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