Fresh of two games in three days, Halifax returned to action as fellow play-off chasers Woking made the long trip north for this Sunday lunchtime fixture.
With the corresponding last fixture providing a seven goal thriller and the Shaymen’s only home defeat of the term, the entertainment stakes were always going to prove difficult to match this time around.
And just like twelve months previous, Woking made the 210 mile journey home the happier side as they took the three points back south after a slightly less nervy victory at The Shay.
The lack of X Factor showed in the game’s opening twenty minutes with the only real chance from either side being a Marc Roberts header from a free kick which went straight at Jake Cole in the visitor’s goal.
After Simon Ainge headed over from under his own bar to stop Scott Rendell sneaking home at the far post, Matt Glennon pulled over a marvellous stop at the feet of Guiseppe Sole.
Sole would get the better of Glennon a couple of minutes later as his wonderful free kick from thirty yards went straight into the top corner of the Ex-Bradford & Huddersfield man’s net to break the deadlock.
And with Woking taking advantage of Town’s change of formation following the goal, Sole was nearly in again from a defensive error only for Glennon to win the latest duel in this interesting battle of wits.
The men from Surrey would double their lead in rather fortunate circumstances. After some good build up play, Scott Rendell’s shot took a wicked deflection into the path of right back Adam Newton who fired home from inside the area.
Woking were unlucky not to score a third in the closing moments of the half when a Woking counter leader to Scott McManus going through the back of fellow defender Sean McGinty to allow Sole through but his chipped effort hit the crossbar.
The early talking points of the second half centred around the action, or lack of it, from the match officials who after letting Josh Payne off with just a yellow for his fierce late challenge somehow missed a clear corner which saw Richard Peniket talk his way into the book for dissent.
Newton bagged his second and Woking’s third near the halfway point of the half when Chris Arthur’s cross went straight through the bodies in the area leaving the right back free at the far post to tuck the ball home.
Halifax did have a couple of chances to get on the board following the introduction of Jamie Jackson, who’s cross to Marc Roberts was headed out for a corner by Joe McNerney before Peniket’s effort from the set piece proving an easy catch for Cole.
Jackson proved a thorn in the Cardinals side once again when he was brought down in the area by James Clarke to win a penalty which was coolly put away from the spot by Paul Marshall.
With the home side now on the front foot whilst looking to forge a comeback, Peniket and Jackson were both denied from close range before a wild shot from distance by McManus sailed into the South Terrace.
Kevin Betsy, a winger of vast Football League experience, nearly restored the advantage with a wonderful solo effort but after skipping through many a challenge could only fire wide from ten yards.
McManus had another effort to grab Neil Aspin’s sides second of the afternoon following a Kevin Roberts lead counter attack but could only fire narrowly past the Yellows near post.
Adam Smith, often FCHT’s main attacking threat, put a cross into a dangerous area five minutes from time but Peniket could only get inches from touching the ball into the goal rather than making the significant contact.
Smith nearly grabbed one for himself in the final minutes but was stopped by a marvellous close range save by the former Plymouth and Barnet stopper Cole.
HALIFAX: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Ainge, McGinty (Schofield 46), McManus, Marshall, Maynard, Smith, Boden (Jackson 63), Peniket. Subs (Not Used): Senior, Bolton, Pearson.
WOKING: Cole, Newton, McNerney, Cestor, Clarke, Lewis, Payne, Arthur, Betsy, Rendell, Sole (Goddard 76). Subs (Not Used): Howe, Beckles, Taylor.
Halifax succumbed to a narrow defeat at Blundell Park in this clash between two of the large chasing back behind current leaders Barnet.
Yet just forty eight hours removed from the FA Cup defeat to West Yorkshire rivals Bradford, a Shaun Pearson goal four minutes before the interval proved to be the winner for the Mariners.
The Grimsby centre back powered home a header from a Nathan Arnold corner for his third goal of the season to secure the home side’s fifth consecutive league victory and strengthen their grip on second position.
Speaking following the game, Shaymen defender Scott McManus told the club website: “We set up as a strong physical unit and really, we shouldn’t be conceding from corners. It was just a good leap and a good goal.”
Paul Hurst’s side had the better of the first half and would have opened the scoring if not for the brilliance of Matt Glennon in the Town goal.
Fifteen minutes in to the first half, Glennon tipped a curling Harry Pell effort from the edge of the area over the crossbar when it looked certain for the top corner.
The former Huddersfield and Bradford shot stopper found it much easier minutes later when Lenell John-Lewis’s acrobatic effort went directly into his gloves.
Post-match, Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside: “It was going to be a tough game and it proved that way. I thought it was a good game really, with two good teams. I thought at times, particularly first-half, it ebbed and flowed, although I thought we were on top in the main.”
Following the restart, the Yorkshire outfit won two free-kicks just outside the area but unfortunately for Neil Aspin both Richard Peniket and Scott McManus dragged the set pieces narrowly wide of McKewon’s near post.
Matty Pearson also had an effort to level the game back up but his header from a Paul Marshall corner flew over the crossbar just moments before his long rate effort rattled the woodwork.
With the pressure on for an equaliser, Grimsby spent most of the half on the back foot but did have a chance to seal the three points half way through the half but a Scott Neilson cross-cum-shot rattled the crossbar after beating Glennon.
Up next for FC Halifax Town is another top of the table clash this Sunday (16th November) when fellow play off hopefuls Woking are the visitors to The Shay.
GRIMSBY: McKeown, Parslow, Nsiala, Pearson, Thomas, Pell, Disley, Magnay (Clay 55), Arnold, Neilson (Mackreth 85), John-Lewis. Subs (Not Used): Brown, Hannah, Pittman.
HALIFAX: Glennon, McGinty (Smith 71), M Roberts, Ainge, K Roberts, Dyer (Pearson 46), Marshall, Maynard, McManus, Peniket, Boden (Schofield 77). Subs (Not Used): Senior, Bolton.
With the chance of hosting League One giants Bradford City awaiting the winner, it set the scene nicely for this FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at The Shay.
And against ten men, Halifax took the game by the scruff of the neck after a few early scares to set up an eagerly anticipated West Yorkshire derby the weekend after next.
Halifax took the leader when Danijel Nizic spilled a Scott McManus effort from range to allow Richard Peniket to tap home.
With Chorley now hunting the equaliser, they made the job near impossible when former Shayman James Dean saw a straight red for an off the ball elbow on Simon Ainge.
Nizic atoned for his earlier error later in the first half when he tipped a Paul Marshall free kick wide and nearly got a hand to Louis Maynard’s effort from distance which flew wide of his far post.
However, in the final minute of added time the ball bobbled round the box before Scott Boden scuffed home to double the advantage and effectively end any hope Chorley had of progressing to the first round.
But the visitors had their own fair share of chances as well in the opening half with a defensive error nearly granting them the lead early doors but Matt Glennon did fantastically well to race out and get low to stop Harry Winter breaking the deadlock.
And Glennon came to the rescue again moments later when he punched a Josh Hine corner off his own line despite being under immense pressure from Dean on the near post.
And in the half’s closing moments Adam Roscoe drilled his free kick under the wall but just inches wide of the Town post.
But just minutes into the second half, Chorley’s evening went even worse when after the right back was dispossessed in the corner the ball found its way to Adam Smith, who found himself alone in the area, to coolly slot home between Nizic’s legs.
Smith would get a second when after receiving the ball from a cross field pass, he turned the right centre back inside out with a fantastic bit of trickery before slotting the ball beautifully into the roof of the Chorley goal for the fourth.
Glennon did get a rare opportunity to warm the gloves when he was forced into a brilliant save from Hine’s effort from the edge of the Halifax eighteen yard box.
Peniket had the chance to make it five for the now rampant Shaymen but his one on one effort could only find the inside of the far post before falling graciously into the hands of Nizic.
And the fifth almost came again in the dying minutes as Jamie Jackson dragged his effort wide of the far post despite the superman like dive from Nizic to try and grasp the ball from the air.
But Peniket did get his second and Fax’s fifth with the final kick off the games as he beat the offside trap and get in behind the centre backs to tuck home inside the far post despite a last ditch effort by Nizic.
HALIFAX: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Ainge, McManus, Smith, Pearson (Dyer 45), Maynard, Marshall (Schofield 66), Boden (Jackson 79), Peniket. Substitutes (Not Used): Senior, Bolton, Wilson, Williams.
CHORLEY: Nizic, Jacobs (Cottrell 28), Roscoe, Teague, Smythe, Mather, Hine (Mulholland 77), Whitham, Winter (Simm 66), Dorney, Dean. Substitutes (Not Used): Jarvis, Lynch, Almond, Grundy.
Despite a spirited attempt at a comeback after falling three goals behind, Brighouse Town slipped to a defeat which now leaves them below Clitheroe in the Division One North standings.
The visitors took the lead after just seven minutes when Captain David Lynch’s cross found its way inside the far post after taking a deflection of Town keeper Jacob Giles.
With very little action following the opener, the side from Lancashire would fire two goals in three minutes to all but secure a victory on the road.
After a corner, Giles pulled back the shirt of Sefton Gonzales denying the striker a goal scoring opportunity but a clever pass to Sam Dickenson saw his strike partner fire home after the referee allowed the advantage.
Gonzales would get his goal two minutes later when after a weak punched clearance by Giles, he took the ball and fired home in the top corner to all but secure three points in this mid table clash.
Brighouse did get on the score sheet in first half injury time when Ernest Boafo, who the club raised vital funds to pay for his mother’s treatment in Ghana this week, saw his effort deflect of a last ditch tackle to wrong foot Andrew Dawber.
The second half was more an entertaining affair which was dominated by the home side as they looked to get back in the game for a point.
Boafo and Captain Leon Henry both had efforts but the Ghanaian striker dragged his effort wide with Henry hitting the side netting.
Boafo’s second of the afternoon and fifth league goal of the season came when after Richard Burns was dispossessed with ease by Shaquille Clarke-Adams, he got the ball and turned Daniel Brady before slotting cooly into the bottom corner.
Clarke-Adams himself put a half chance wide of Dawber’s near post before things got a bit tasty in the midst of the Town’s attempted spirited comeback.
With Clitheroe breaking down the left hand side, Danny Wilkins was the victim of a dangerous effort by Ben Thornton which left the right back lucky not to see red and Lynch furious as he went to the defence of his teammates and began to pick fights with many a man in orange.
Brighouse manager Paul Quinn was also lucky not to see red after a tirade against the linesman after flagging marauding centre back Tyrone Gay offside in the hunt for the equalising goal.
Despite all the Town pressure in the second forty five, they succumbed to defeat when with seven minutes left, right back Danny Morton well placed his shot when left unmarked in the area after a fantastic save to deny substitute Ryan Charnley.
BRIGHOUSE TOWN: Giles, Thornton, Scott, Wilson (Clarke-Adams 58), Gay, Burke, Baldwin, Hall (Hurtley 63), Boafo, Matthews (Kebbie 46), Henry. Substitutes (Not Used): Field, Thewlis.
CLITHEROE: Dawber, Morton, Bamba, Bonaminio, Brady, Garner, Burns (Ralph 86), Lynch, Gonzales, Dickenson (Charnley 66), Bent (Wilkins 77). Substitutes (Not Used): Walker, Freeland.
Two goals in six second half minutes proved enough at Spotland to top a magnificent week for Bradford with a second successive League One victory away from home.
Less than seventy two hours from victory over rivals Leeds in the League Cup, the hero of Wednesday James Hanson headed home an Alan Sheehan corner to seal the win against a stubborn Rochdale outfit.
Following the match, Hanson said of his and the side’s recent form: “We’ve got that winning mentality this year. Winning at a place like Rochdale is massive for us.”
The goal came just minutes after the Bantams ex-Dale midfielder Jason Kennedy comfortably tucked the ball home in the bottom corner to break the deadlock after some lovely build up play between Sheehan and Hanson.
The first half was a dull affair with chances very hard to come by for both Dale and City as the middle of the park saw the most action.
Rochdale did have the most of the efforts on goal but after Joe Rafferty dragged his effort wide prior to Peter Vincenti’s effort finding the car park and Rhys Bennett’s header finding the gloves of Jordan Pickford in the Bradford goal.
The visitors did have chances of their own in the opening forty five with both Mason Bennett & Kennedy putting opportunities to break the deadlock over Conrad Logan’s crossbar.
The second half saw the pendulum swing towards Phil Parkinson’s side as a solid backline kept the Dale strike force silent and the midfield diamond of Gary Liddle, Kennedy, Billy Knott and substitute Billy Clarke run the show up the pitch.
Hanson and Knott both put the ball wide in the opening five minutes of the second forty five with Sheehan and Clarke also firing wide either side of an easy save for Pickford from a Bennett free header.
Then came the two goals for the dominate outfit in white, but the second goal must of provided frustration to Rochdale manager Keith Hill who tried to get a double substitution on before the corner was taken.
But, following the game, Hill had praise for his former player and the opening goalscorer: “Jason Kennedy’s been absolutely marvellous for Rochdale and it looks as though he’s started the season brightly for Bradford. I wish him all the best.”
The final real chance of the game did fall to Hill’s side, but Ian Henderson dragged his free kick from the edge of the area wide of Pickford’s far post after putting in under the City wall.
The victory moves City up into fourth in the early League One standings ahead of a trip to Oldham in the JPT this Tuesday evening.
ROCHDALE: Logan; Rafferty (Donnelly 67), Eastham, Tanser, Kennedy; Bennett, Allen, Hery, Done (Fenelon 67); Henderson, Vincenti (Andrew 73). Subs Not Used: Musangu, Dawson, Rose, Camps.
CITY: Pickford; Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith; Liddle, Kennedy, Morais (Clarke 45), Knott (Dolan 82); Bennett (McLean 75), Hanson. Subs Not Used: Williams, Yeates, Routis, McBurnie.
A dramatic finish to an entertaining Capital One Cup derby game saw Bradford City progress in what could be the final game of David Hockaday’s short reign as Leeds United manager.
James Hanson dramatically completed a three minute turnaround with a brave header from a Gary Liddle cross just moments after it had appeared a ten man Leeds side had snatched victory at Valley Parade.
Matt Smith broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute of a fast and ferocious match when against the run of play the giant striker leapt highest in the six yard box to turn home a teasing ball from David Norris.
From the restart, City pushed for an equaliser and after it had appeared the visitors had cleared there lines, Billy Knott tuck the ball and fired into Stuart Taylor’s top right corner from distance to bring the stadium back to life before Hanson’s winner.
Phil Parkinson, the Bradford City manager, dedicated the victory to the supporters, saying: “Without a doubt this is a big moment, we knew what this meant to the people of Bradford tonight and we said that to the lads before we went out there. The fans have gone away tonight knowing we did everything to make that happen for them.”
The story of the first half was the dismissal of Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy. The former Crewe man was lucky to only see yellow for the first offence after a reckless challenge on Jason Kennedy in the opposition midfield.
Murphy seemed to have a rush of a blood for his second bookable offence when he raced in and came through James Meredith late with a raised foot which made contact with the left back’s trailing leg.
Chances were mainly those of the whites in the first half when following Smith’s header over, Alan Sheehan’s last ditch tackle halting Billy Sharp’s turn to shoot for the opener. Stephen Warnock also found himself one on one with Ben Williams but could only put the effort past the far post.
Bradford, the 2013 finalists in the competition, also had their own share of the chances to break the deadlock but McLean’s flick on found the hands of Stuart Taylor before Kennedy could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
After a tense opening to the second half in which Leeds were very resolute which frustrated the opposition, Sharp and Parkinson were both lucky not to see red following an altercation between the former and defender Rory McArdle.
After a battle for the ball, the striker appeared to only have eyes for his marker and after the pair kicked out, Leeds summer arrival appeared to headbutt McArdle on the deck. Parkinson raced out of his technical area and grabbed Sharp by the throat only for the fourth official to defuse the any hostility.
Taylor in the Leeds goal was to thank for getting the sides scoreless heading into the closing moments after a beautiful one handed save from Billy Clarke with twenty five minutes remaining.
But, the headlines belonged to the Bantams after the sensational period of three goals in five minutes which leaves Hockaday’s chances of remaining on as head coach on the thinnest of ice.
Following the game, the former Forest Green manager said: “I’m not a quitter, I’m a fighter. I feel as though not just myself, but the team at the moment, things just aren’t going our way.”
“But now we have to look at Saturday. They’ll be in tomorrow, I’ll be in tomorrow and it’s on to the next game again. It’s a tough game at times but we’ve got to pick ourselves up. Nobody here is going to feel sorry for us.”
Unfortunately, things would only get worse for the man in the hottest of hotseats when after a four minute delay for crowd disturbances, substitute Dominic Poleon could only sensationally put a chance in injury time to equalise wide when it seemed easier to score.
The third round draw following the game presented the Bantams with an intriguing away tie at fellow League One side MK Dons, who progressed after a sensational 4-0 home victory over Manchester United on the Tuesday night.
CITY: Williams; Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith; Liddle, Kennedy, Knott (Dolan 90+7), Clarke; McLean (McBurnie 70), Hanson. Subs Not Used: Urwin, Yeates, Shariff, Routis, Morais.
LEEDS: S Taylor; Wootton, Cooper, Pearce, Warnock; Norris (Poleon 90), Tonge, Murphy, Bianchi; Sharp, Smith. Subs Not Used: Silvestri, Ajose, C Taylor, Cook, Bendicic, Antenucci.