Pontefract Collieries' FA Cup run ends despite another heroic effort at Halifax
The fairytale did not quite come true last night, but Pontefract Collieries players could hold their heads high again after another mighty effort that pushed Halifax Town all the way in their fourth round Emirates FA Cup replay.
In the end a single goal by substitute Jack Vale after 65 minutes proved the difference between the teams with Town going through 1-0.
The National League side will now go on to face Maidenhead United in the first round proper, but they were sweating after another heroic performance by Ponte keeper Ryan Musselwhite held them at bay for so long.
Colls also threw plenty at their hosts as they piled on the pressure in the closing stages and had chances in the second half.
It may not have been for Colls in the end, but it was another memorable night for the club as they took 526 fans to The Shay and played in front of a 1,713 crowd.
Halifax seemed to have learned from Saturday’s initial tie as they started with Jamie Allen up front and looked to exploit his pace as they had done in the final quarter at Pontefract. He and Matthew Warburton both had early efforts at goal as the pattern was quickly set for the first half with Town having most of the possession.
Warburton was twice denied by Saturday’s man of the match Musselwhite and the keeper parried Martin Woods’ shot.
Woods saw a free kick deflected wide and Warburton’s free-kick was met by another Musselwhite save. The keeper also comfortably saved Warburton’s header.
Colls’ best moment in attack in the first half came when Vaughan Redford slid in Scott Smith and his cross was spilled by keeper Sam Johnson, but recent signing Luke Hinsley could not quite fire home.
Ben Gordon had a shot blocked and Hinsley’s acrobatic effort came to nothing, but it was Halifax who had dominated much of the half and they had gone close just before the break when Tyrell Warren’s low shot brought another good save from Musselwhite.
Ponte were looking increasingly comfortable after the break until the decisive moment came as Allen’s run into the area and subsequent low cross was finished from close range by Vale.
After fighting a mostly rearguard action up to this point Colls now went on the attack in a bid for an equaliser and Redford forced Johnson into a save with a header.
Jack Greenhough was off target with a header as Ponte exerted some pressure in the last 10 minutes. Town remained nervous to the finish and were holding on somewhat, but they held on to continue their cup run.
Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Senior, Green, Spence (Waters 59), Woods, Slew (Gilmour 76), Warburton, Newby (Vale 59), Allen. Subs not used: Scott, Swaby-Neavin, McDonagh.
Pontefract: Musselwhite, Greenhough, Clarke, Brook, Gordon, Rothery, Vann, Robson (Lazenby 68), Smith (Bailey 81), Hinsley (Hey 60), Redford. Subs not used: Williams, Brown, Collington, Clegg.