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Match Reports

Notts 1-1 Halifax

Shaymen hold us at home

22 February 2022

We were held at home by 10-man Halifax Town despite producing another dominant display at Meadow Lane.

Having been hit by a goal out of the blue when Aaron Martin beat Vitezslav Jaros to a ball over the top before finishing into an empty net, we deservedly restored parity when Eli Sam scored a tremendous long-range effort shortly after Jack Senior had been dismissed for a second bookable offence.

We'd come close on so many occasions before the equaliser and continued our incessent pressure after the break, hitting the bar through Kyle Cameron, but there was to be no winner.

Ian Burchnall named an unchanged team from the one that secured a dominant win over Eastleigh three days previously.

And we continued on the front foot in what transpired to be a frantic first half packed with incident and drama.

The first chance came on 11 minutes when Jaros played a delightful pass into Kyle Wootton, who in turn set Jayden Richardson free through the middle. Space opened up for the wing back to shoot but he instead took an extra touch and couldn’t hit the target from a narrower angle.

We should have been ahead two minutes later when, after Richardson had won a corner, Cameron’s deflected shot was turned goalwards by Wootton, drawing a save from Sam Johnson which saw the ball come to Richard Brindley a few yards from goal. Under close attention from a defender, however, he could only turn the ball wide with the net at his mercy.

Minutes later we had a big penalty appeal waved away as Cameron appeared to be impeded when trying to meet a corner at the back post – and we were hit with a sucker punch moments later as Halifax opened the scoring out of the blue.

A teasing ball over the top attracted Jaros to come and meet it but Martin beat him to it, taking the ball past him and applying the finish to stun the Meadow Lane crowd.

We didn’t let the goal get us down, though, and within three minutes had twice come close to equalising – Wootton seeing a flicked effort saved shortly before Sam cut in from the left and rattled the post.

Our frustration was compounded on 28 minutes when Wootton appeared to win a clean tackle which would have set us away three-versus-one only for the referee to blow for a foul, moments before he missed what looked a clear infringement on Rodrigues as he led a counter-attack.

He did call a foul on Senior on 30 minutes, booking him for clattering Roberts from behind shortly before Rodrigues, who had earlier been booked for remonstrating with the referee, came close to converting Richardson’s cross. Sam kept the ball alive, supplying Chicksen whose shot flew wide of the far post.

Two minutes later Halifax found themselves down to 10 men when Senior couldn’t live with Richardson’s movement down the right, bringing him down off the ball and collecting his second yellow card.

And from the resultant free-kick another huge penalty appeal was waved away when Francis’ shot looked to have struck a defender’s arm.

Matt Palmer saw a deflected effort go just wide as we continued to pile the pressure on to our visitors.

And it finally told on 44 minutes when Sam, again cutting in from the left, produced a superb strike to send the ball low beyond Johnson and into the bottom corner from outside the area.

It was one-way traffic and Halifax will have been begging for the opportunity to regroup at half-time as one of their defenders made a brilliant block to deny Wootton inside three added minutes.

And the visitors were given their respite shortly after Roberts cut in from the right and sent a shot a yard wide of the near post.

As expected, Halifax emerged for the second half a more resolute outfit as half-chances for Chicksen, Wootton and Richardson were all we had to show for our continued dominance in the early exchanges.

On the hour we were again appealing for a penalty when Wootton appeared to be held when trying to make contact with Chicksen’s excellent cross but, once again, there was no whistle.

Sam snatched at a first-time shot and Johnson saved Rodrigues’ effort at the second attempt as the Shaymen’s goal continued to lead a charmed life, with Burchnall deciding to add fresh attacking spark in the shape of Zak Brunt, replacing Ed Francis, on 70 minutes.

Richardson saw a shot snuffed out at the near post after bursting into the box, a defender produced a heroic block to deny Roberts and Sam sent an effort just wide as the game entered its final throes.

But our relentless pressure was halted when Brunt required lengthy treatment after taking a blow to the head in a robust 50-50, resulting in him walking off to be replaced by Frank Vincent – with the fatigued Sam also making way for Kairo Mitchell.

We picked up the pace as soon as play resumed with a golden opportunity passing Roberts by following brilliant work from Chicksen, moments before Cameron turned the ball on to the bar as seven minutes’ added time were signalled.

But, after Johnson recovered a Wootton header on the line, the referee called time and we had to settle for a point.

STARTING XI: Jaros; Chicksen, Cameron, Brindley, Richardson; Francis (Brunt 70' - Vincent 86'), Palmer, Rodrigues; Sam (Mitchell 86'), Roberts, Wootton

SUBS: Rawlinson, Nemane

BOOKINGS: Rodrigues 18'

ATTENDANCE: 5,603 (392)


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