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A goal at the death from Mark Beck earned Harrogate Town all three points in a pulsating match at The Shay Stadium, Halifax.
Beck, George Thomson and Jack Muldoon were recalled to Harrogate’s line up, replacing Jon Stead, Jack Diamond and Sam Jones.
Initially, both sides struggled to cope with the pace of the ball as it skidded on the sodden surface, but as they settled, the match turned into an absorbing contest.
An early effort from Ryan Fallowfield sailed wide of the Halifax goal, prompting the Shaymen to retaliate with a shot from Liam McAlinden which flashed over the angle of post and bar.
As the action ebbed and flowed, it was the visitors who had the next attempt when Alex Bradley’s twenty yard drive forced home keeper, Sam Johnson, to leap to his left to claw the ball away for a corner.
Halifax, roared on by a sizeable home crowd, then put Town under a period of intense pressure.
A frantic goalmouth scramble ended with James Belshaw saving from McAlinden with his legs and moments later, again saving with his legs as McAlinden struck a free kick round the wall after Beck had committed a foul on the edge of the area.
However, it was Harrogate who finished the half in the ascendancy, when skipper, Warren Burrell pushed forward to smash a Brendan Kiernan cut back against the crossbar from just outside the area.
Soon afterwards, Beck and Kiernan combined to release George Thomson down the left and his low cross was turned in at the far post by Fallowfield, only for Town’s joy to be cut short by the linesman’s raised flag for offside.
The half ended with Johnson turning Beck’s glancing header round the post for a Town corner.
Early second half pressure from the Shayman saw Will Smith make a vital sliding tackle to end a McAlinden run and George Smith clear from Danny Williams.
Harrogate were closing Halifax down well and denying them possession, even so, Josh Staunton forced Belshaw to make a diving save and sub, Cameron King, fired over the bar.
But Town were giving as good as they were getting and the commanding, Connor Hall, pushed forward to head a George Smith free kick just wide, while Muldoon was off target from twentyfive yards.
Just as the game appeared to be heading for a goalless draw, Town struck!
Fallowfield and Thomson combined down the right and the latter’s low centre found Beck at the near post and he shot into the roof of the net for a welcome winner.
Indeed, Town could have made it two deep into stoppage time when Muldoon broke clear, but his sidefooted shot was just wide of the far post.
Belshaw, Fallowfield, G Smith, Burrell, Thomson, Beck, Kiernan(Diamond 69), Bradley(Brown 80), Muldoon, Hall, W Smith.
Unused subs, Emmett, Cracknell, Stead.
Scorer, Beck 88.
FC Halifax Town,
Johnson, Duckworth, Binnom-Williams, Clarke, Nolan, Sho-Silva, Staunton, McAlinden, J King(C King 67), Williams(Southwell 72), Cooper.
Unused subs, Earing, Appleyard, Hanson.
Booked Cooper. Att 1918
Referee, S Mather