Halifax Town 0 Harriers 0
Venue: The Shay
away fans: ?
Unbeaten run continues at the Shay
Mark Yates' new look Harriers came back from Halifax today with a hard earned point that takes them up one more place in the Conference to thirteenth position, their best position for some time. The draw came at a cost though with four bookings being picked up in what was never a bad tempered occasion.
Yates elected to start with Andy White and Jake Sedgemore making their debuts for us in place of Iyseden Christie and Mark Jackson, both now at Rochdale. There was no place for Junior Osborne but the weeks other new signing, Paul Smith, made it onto the bench.
The first half was a mediocre affair with an early chance for Halifax from Justin Bowler when he sent a shot over John Danby's crossbar following a great through ball by Martin Foster. Ten minutes later Russell Penn put a header wide and that was it until just before half time when Andy White played Russell through only for the blond haired striker to send his effort just inches wide of the post.
Following that first initial strike from Bowler the home side had failed to produce another shot on goal in the first half and went off to a chorus of derision from the home fans.
HT: 0 - 0
The second half was a far more enterprising half and by the end of the game the Harriers should have been able to return to Kidderminster with all three points in the bag.
It was Halifax that were to start the half the stronger though with chances falling to John Grant and Steve Bushell but without the conviction to cause us any trouble. Later Tyrone Thompson volleyed wide after he was set up by John Grant.
The Harriers defence settled down once more to retain their firm grip on the game without really trying to gain something from the game. Gareth Sheldon came on for Francino Francis who had taken a knock during the first half but couldn't continue much longer and Paul Smith replaced a very subdued Michael Blackwood.
Halifax missed a chance to score following a great save from Danby when he stopped Craig Midgley's shot only for it to run loose to Danny Forrest who then wastefully sent the invitation way over the crossbar. Towards the end of the game, with the Harriers hoping to make the point secure, Neil Howarth came on for Jonny Harkness and it was then that we could have come away with all three points.
Deep in injury time the ball broke after some Halifax pressure and some neat interplay between Simon Russell and Paul Smith saw the latter send in a fine volley from twelve yards out go screaming in on goal only to see a class save from Jon Kennedy, making his debut in goal for the Shaymen.
This was a hard earned point for us and shows how far we have come since Mark Yates took over the managers job. Three wins and a draw have taken us up to a more respectable thirteenth in the table and this should be improved on when we entertain a stationary Gravesend side that have spent most of the season stuck in or around mid table all season. A win won't see us make a big jump but it'll be three points nearer the play off places.