MATCH VERDICT: FC Halifax Town 2-2 Boston United

FC Halifax Town drew 2-2 with Boston United in their first game at The Shay for six months.
FC Halifax Town v Boston UnitedFC Halifax Town v Boston United
FC Halifax Town v Boston United

Kieran Green and Jake Hyde put Town into a comfortable-looking 2-0 lead but Boston got two in five minutes through Jordan Thewlis and former Halifax striker Jordan Burrow.

Pete Wild wanted a good test from Boston, and got it.

The Shaymen should have won it, but a raft of changes which unsettled what had been a good performance, and individual errors, helped Boston draw level.

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At times, Town's 3-5-2 system looked more like a 3-4-3, with Jack Earing in the number 10 role but staying close to Hyde and Jamie Allen.

But the Halifax players looked comfortable in it, and offered plenty of encouraging signs, producing moments of flowing football and attractive build-up play, the likes of which was non-existent the last time Town played at The Shay against Ebbsfleet.

But Boston's fightback will serve as a reminder that there is still work to be done before the season begins.

A superb, inviting cross from Jeff King was begging to be converted at the far post by Green, who was left with a tap-in just eight minutes in.

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Town were a step above their lower-league visitors, their passing crisper, their tempo quicker and their movement better.

Tom Bradbury should also have scored with a close range header from a corner.

For all their encouraging play, Town were fortunate not to be pegged back after a flowing, slick move by Boston that sliced through Town like a knife through hot butter, but the finish, 10 yards out, was lacking, and the ball was put wide.

After another Boston shot went narrowly over from 20 yards, King won the ball high up the pitch and cut inside, but dragged his left-foot shot wide of the near post.

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Both teams were keen to play out from the back, making for an attractive contest, and looked to build attacks from deep.

There was still some pre-season rustiness meaning some passes went astray and touches were loose; Town got into some promising crossing positions but didn't make the most of them.

Jay Benn looked comfortable and assured at the centre of Town's back three, with Green showing good movement and awareness to find space to receive and retain possession.

Luke Summerfield and King were tenacious, closing down and harrying, and from Summerfield winning the ball in midfield, Town broke forward, with Jack Senior's fizzed cross headed in from close range by Hyde at the angle of the six yard box.

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Allen had been involved in more build-up play than Hyde, but Town's number nine was in the right place at the right time to find the net.

Boston were creating chances, but The Shaymen offered more penetration and were more clinical.

The visitors were getting closer with their efforts from range, hitting the bar just after Hyde had been withdrawn a few minutes prior to half-time, presumably carrying a knock.

The away side offered enough creativity and attacking threat to cause concern and perhaps learn a lesson for two for Town, but just not enough to bring a save from Sam Johnson.

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The Town keeper was tested a few minutes after the interval with a tame shot from 15 yards.

That was after Senior was taken off with what looked like an injury sustained pinging a crossfield pass shortly after the restart.

The left wing-back was receiving treatment on the touchline as Town pressed for a third, with substitute Matty Stenson lively in attack, dropping deep and finding space to link play.

Boston were resilient though, clearing dangerous crosses and just about keeping a leash on Allen when he threatened to run in-behind.

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Substitute Dom Tear, one of a glut of changes on the hour mark by both sides, hit the bar with a rising drive after being cleverly played in by Reuben Noble-Lazarus' pass across the box.

Had that gone in, it would have been game over.

But Boston restored parity when Thewlis sent Town's trialist keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot, and then five minutes later, Burrow pounced on a poorly executed chest back to the keeper by Town's trialist left wing back, and finished low into the net.

From being in complete control, Town were now in danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but the contest fizzled out.

Town: 1. Johnson (Trialist 60), 17. Maher, 5. Benn, 6. Bradbury, 2. King (19 Tear 60)), 11. Summerfield (4 Woods 60)), 18. Green (Trialist 60)), 10. Earing (16 Noble-Lazarus 60)), 21. Senior (Trialist (50)), 9. Hyde (14 Stenson (41)) (Groomes 74), 7. Allen (Trialist 60)). Subs: 22. Crane, Ciccarelli.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 9

Scorers: Green (8), Hyde (31)

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Boston: (first-half) Fitzsimons; Tootle, Garner, Gibbens, Duxbury; Dimaio, Green, Trialist B; Preston, Archer, Hawkridge. Subs: Crook (GK), Warren, Askew, Shiels, Thanoj, Platt, Rollins, Thewlis, Burrow.

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 4

Scorers: Thewlis (67), Burrow (72)

Referee: Dave Richardson

Town man of the match: Jeff King