March 13, 2015
ALDERSHOT 1. V. 1. FC HALIFAX TOWN
(Match played on Tuesday 10th March 2015.)
Richard Peniket’s header ended FC Halifax Town’s search for a goal as they battled to a 1-1 draw at Aldershot.
Little did Halifax know when Jamie Jackson clinched the win over Braintree it would be another five-and-a-half hours until they next scored.
But Peniket ended the wait in fine fashion and helped Town to a creditable point.
Man of the match candidates have been few and far between of late, but a fair smattering of Town players deserved a shout, with Adam Smith and Richard Peniket excellent in attack.
On the kind of surface Town can only dream of playing on every other week, the away side were much improved from their last game on the road at Southport.
Halifax covered the hard yards and didn’t lack effort as both sides played their part in an entertaining contest.
Danny East nearly found the net within three minutes from a well-worked corner but drilled his shot just wide with Matt Glennon beaten.
Town replied immediately with decent efforts from range by Paul Marshall and Richard Peniket.
The visitors were quicker to the ball in the opening 10 minutes or so, with the midfield triumvirate of Marshall, Matt Pearson and Lois Maynard competing well and making their collective presence felt.
But Aldershot hit the post through Jim Stevenson’s header following a good spell of pressure that saw Scott McManus booked after a particularly testing few minutes saw the hosts make in-roads down the Halifax left.
Peniket’s luck with Conference officials continued to be out as he was denied a blatant free-kick just outside the area when he was tripped.
Aldershot’s 0-0 draw at Macclesfield, their first clean sheet in 16 games, meant they were five games unbeaten for the first time in two years, which says as much about the job caretaker-boss Chris Barker has done as what the last two years have been like for Aldershot fans.
This was the latest in a series of job interviews for player-manager Barker, who has held discussions about the manager’s role, with the general consensus at the Recreation Ground being a win against Town would seal the deal.
There can’t have been many Germans who’ve have scored for Aldershot, but Antonio German’s scrappy opener at the near-post from a corner was a blow to The Shaymen, who seemed to have weathered the storm.
In response, Marshall’s free-kick was comfortably saved by Phil Smith as the clock struck five hours since Town’s last goal.
But Halifax had offered enough to suggest the run would be ended before the long journey home, although most of their efforts were restricted to long-range.
Top-scorer Brett Williams must have thought his run of one goal in eight had ended a few minutes before the break when he stroked the ball goal-wards, only for Glennon to pull off a remarkable save at point-blank range.
Had that gone in, 2-0 would have been a long way back.
Town now needed to find the net on their travels for the first time since Pearson’s winner at Telford at the end of January.
Jackson, scorer of Town’s last goal against Braintree, was brought on for the second-half, but his first involvement was being booked.
German’s thumping shot brought a good save from Glennon as Town sought to strike a balance between containing a dangerous-looking Aldershot with offering a threat of their own.
Of the Halifax contingent, Adam Smith was the most incisive, offering an outlet down the right flank and, just before the hour mark, cutting in from the left before firing low across goal.
So it was hardly surprising Smith was the architect of Town’s leveller, sending in a delightful cross before Peniket rose superbly to direct a bullet header into the near post.
Not only did that goal silence the home crowd, it also changed the course of the contest, with Town now enjoying a similar spring in their step that German’s goal gave the hosts.
The 27 away supporters were encouraged by a succession of Town corners as the visitors had their best spell of the game.
Just as Halifax were building some momentum, referee Adam Hopkins had to be replaced by fourth official Matthew Lee, stopping the game dead for two or three minutes.
Shots keeper Phil Smith nearly matched Glennon’s first-half wonder save with a fine reaction stop from an equally good turn and shot by the impressive Peniket.
A point was arguably a good result for both sides, but neither looked to be settling for it.
Hatton’s curling free-kick brought a flying save from Glennon at one end, James Bolton’s close-range header was saved at the other.
Marc Roberts nearly capped a superb display with a late winner, but his header crashed off the bar from a corner.
Aldershot: Smith, McGinty, Wilson, Barker, Hatton, Williams (Scott 85), Plummer (Richards 51), Roberts (Molesley 72), East, Stevenson, German. Subs not used: Lathrope, Thomas.
Scorer: German (27)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 5
Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, M Roberts, Hutchison, McManus, Smith, Maynard, Pearson, Marshall, Peniket, Schofield (Jackson 46). Subs not used: Senior, K Roberts, Boden, Hatfield.
Scorer: Peniket (59)
Shots on target: 7
Shots off target: 3
Town man of the match: Matt Glennon
(With thanks to the Halifax Courier for this match report.)