FA Cup, Morecambe 0 FC Halifax Town 0: Resolute Shaymen earn deserved replay

Sam Johnson: Made early saves.
Sam Johnson: Made early saves.
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FC Halifax Town and Morecambe will meet again after this stalemate.

Halifax produced a committed performance to take their League Two hosts to a replay at The Shay on Tuesday, November 20.

Former Halifax loanee A-Jay Leitch-Smith was outstanding in a fairly dour first-half, displaying some nice touches on the ball, finding pockets of space and keeping the hosts’ attacks ticking over.

His long-range strike was tipped over by Sam Johnson early on, after which Jordan Cranston also tried his luck with a terrific shot from distance, which Johnson also turned behind.

For their part, Halifax had worked hard off-the-ball, closing down space, staying organised, and heeding their manager’s call to cut out individual errors.

Brown had to be alert to clear Oates’s shot off the line moments after the restart, but unlike in their previous game, Halifax came out after the break with aggression, no doubt buoyed by their first-half display, with a sense they had nothing to lose and nothing to fear.

Maher needed to shoot with more conviction after Cameron King found him free on the edge of the area after a lovely turn to evade his marker, with Maher’s effort easily saved by Mark Halstead.

Halifax were next to creak when Nathan Clarke headed a cross against his own bar, and Oliver produced a spectacular overhead kick that flashed across goal.

The game became more nervy as it edged towards full-time, with both teams aware one goal would almost certainly settle the outcome.

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Old, Lavelle, Conlan, Cranston (Oswell 81), Mandeville (Tutte 55), Wildig, Oates (Ellison 55), Oliver, Leitch-Smith. Unused substitutes: Szczepaniak, Kenyon, Yarney, Mendes-Gomes.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Sellers, Maher, Staunton, King, Southwell (Edwards 82), Odelusi (Preston 68). Unused substitutes: Rowley, McLeod.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincs).