FC HALIFAX TOWN will be in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup after a pulsating 3-3 draw at Eastleigh.
With Town facing an Eastleigh team still recovering from a change of manager and back-to-back defeats, they surely won’t have had too many better chances of reaching the third round since last achieving that feat back in 1989.
But Mikael Mandron gave the hosts the lead moments after his low shot from 12 yards had forced the returning Steve Drench into an outstanding save diving to his left.
From the resulting corner, Jason Taylor’s effort was blocked, and the loose ball was tucked away by Mandron in a crowded six-yard box.
Halifax hadn’t kicked on since half-time, but out of nothing, hauled themselves level when Jordan Sinnott worked half a yard of space on the edge of the box with a one-two with Tom Denton before rolling the ball into the far bottom corner.
The turnaround was then completed when Denton flicked on Sinnott’s cross and Scott Garner nodded it in from close range.
Sinnott’s close-range shot was brilliantly saved by Huddart before it was then three goals in a barely-believable 10 minutes when substitute Richard Peniket took advantage of some slack defending to burst onto a loose ball before firing low past the goalkeeper.
Fellow substitute Scott Wilson quickly got one back for Eastleigh when he charged through the Town defence before firing powerfully past Drench to hand the hosts a lifeline.
Drench produced his best save of the lot with a terrific stop at point-blank range from Wilson, but Easteligh’s relentless pressure finally told when Mandron scrambled the ball in from a corner from three yards out.
Eastleigh: Huddart, Partington, Essam, Pipe, Green, Coulson, Reason, Taylor (Santos 46, Bird 75), Johnson, Mandron, Constable (Wilson 66). Subs not used: Whittington, Dugdale, Obileye.
FC Halifax Town: Drench, Moyo, Garner, Hotte, Wilde, Macdonald (Hibbs 71), Lynch, King, Sinnott, Simmons (Peniket 52), Denton. Subs not used: Barrows, Nicholson, Kosylo, Hone, Khan.
Man of the match: Jordan Sinnott
Referee: Brendan Malone