Harker's last-ditch leveller earns Town a draw in final league game of the season

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Rob Harker's last-gasp equaliser earned FC Halifax Town a 1-1 draw with Eastleigh in their final league game of the season.

Town looked to be signing off for Wembley with a defeat thanks to Kairo Mitchell's first-half goal, but The Shaymen kept going and got their reward through Harker's fifth goal in six games.

Justice was done after an improved second-half from Halifax, who ensured they retain some momentum going into the FA Trophy final.

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A decent first ten minutes or so from the home side was capped by Milli Alli's header from Tylor Golden's cross that Eastleigh keeper Joe McDonnell kept out well.

The Shay. Photo: TS MediaThe Shay. Photo: TS Media
The Shay. Photo: TS Media

Halifax were pressing well off the ball, spreading play nicely and in the ascendancy.

But Eastleigh then started to grow into the contest and Halifax didn't do enough to stop them.

Sam Johnson tried his best, producing a fantastic double save in his bid to win the Golden Glove, first denying Ryan Hill one-on-one and then Danny Whitehall's follow-up shot.

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Town's defence was then badly exposed down their left-side, but Mitchell was unable to convert a low cross from six yards out, with Johnson tipping his effort behind.

There was no such let off shortly afterwards. Johnson could only do so much.

Mitchell slid the ball in from an angle after a nice pass to him inside the box. It had been coming.

Town were off the pace, their passing ragged and untidy.

The Shaymen spent too long chasing after the ball rather than keeping it for themselves, repeatedly giving it away cheaply, and Eastleigh had the pace to threaten them on the break.

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Halifax had been quicker and sharper than Eastleigh early on, but it was now the opposite.

Alli let fly from 20 yards with a dipping shot that was just off target as Town finally engineered a bit of pressure, with Jamie Cooke's shot deflected over.

But if the game was useful in any sense for Wembley, it was more as a reminder to Town that they're not the finished article yet.

Any last confidence boost ahead of next month's final wasn't materialising.

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Halifax were more effective after the break, with Harker prodding Angelo Capello's cross wide and Alli seeing a low shot tipped away by McDonnell.

That was either side of a shot by Mitchell that Adam Senior deflected onto the bar.

There was at least more energy now from Town, who were at least forcing Eastleigh into some much more frequent defending.

Harker should have levelled after a delightful move ended with Gilmour sliding him through on goal but McDonnell kept him out.

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Festus Arthur was then potentially added to the Wembley absentee list, along with, presumably, Mani Dieseruvwe, when he was stretchered off injured.

Harker was again thwarted by McDonnell one-on-one after substitute Max Wright's clever header put him through on goal.

In-between Eastleigh's time-wasting, Halifax had created some good chances, but lacked the killer instinct as well as coming up against a very good, golden gloved goalkeeper.

But he was forced to share that accolade with Johnson when, in the sixth minute of added time, Capello's shot came back off the bar but the cut-back was turned in by Harker.

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Halifax: Johnson, A Senior (Debrah 90), Stott, Arthur (Wright 68), Golden (Warburton 89), Gilmour, Hunter, Capello, Cooke, Alli, Harker. Subs not used: Scott, J Senior

Scorer: Harker (90)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 9

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Langston, Martin, Rutherford, Kelly, Cisse, Hill, Harper, McKiernan, Whitehall, Mitchell (Scrimshaw 89). Subs not used: Yang, Stock, Simpson, Flitney.

Scorer: Mitchell (18)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 2

Attendance: 2,154 (54 away)

Referee: Dean Watson

Town man of the match: Sam Johnson. Made some very good saves and showed why he would be a good bit of business to retain for next season