FC Halifax Town produced a rousing performance but couldn’t cap it with a winner as they drew 0-0 with promotion-chasers Salford at The Shay.
Halifax were the better side for long periods and ran themselves ragged against an underwhelming Salford side.
But despite some impressive attacking play, Town were again left to rue a combination of bad luck and not enough conviction in-front of goal to earn the result they deserved.
The Shaymen couldn’t really have done much more or tried much harder. All that was missing was a winner. But if they continue to play like this, they’ll surely climb the table soon.
Niall Maher fired over from 20 yards within the first minute before a fantastic run by Cameron King saw him weave into the box, a one-two with Matty Kosylo got him to within sight of goal eight yards out, but he hesitated too long, and the chance went.
An excellent quick clearance by Sam Johnson from Salford’s sole first-half corner set Dayle Southwell away, but he eventually fired straight at Chris Neal after Salford got players back.
There was good movement from Town, with Kosylo popping up one right as well as the left, and an adventurous spirit, with the hosts not just sitting back and inviting pressure.
For their part, Salford were pretty powder-puff, producing some decent passages of play in the Town half but without any end product.
Their first chance didn’t arrive until 25 minutes in, when Adam Rooney laid off a free-kick to Danny Lloyd 12 yards out, who volleyed just over left-footed.
Carl Piergianni produced a good block to stop Scott Quigley’s goal-bound shot, with Town playing some good football, patient in possession and trying to create openings.
There was more fluidity to Town’s play than a surprisingly disjointed Salford, as evidenced when King and Southwell linked-up before the ball found Quigley in space on the left of the box, but he fired straight at the keeper.
The influential King, who was proving difficult to contain, then won a free-kick 20 yards out that keeper Neal tipped behind at full stretch.
Quigley fired an effort over from outside the box too. Halifax were by far the more productive side, with Salford pedestrian.
Matt Green’s effort from range, which went for a throw-in, seemed to sum up the visitors’ half.
Michael Duckworth’s shot - when he marauded forward after being found in space by King and thought ‘why not?’ from 25 yards before Neal failed to grasp it - summed up Town’s: confident, spirited and having a go.
If David Beckham was at The Shay, he might have been asking his Class of 92 pals for his money back.
Half-time had certainly come at a batter time for Salford, giving them a chance to reassess. Their diamond in midfield had provided precious little service to Green and Rooney - another name of Manchester United folklore - who had been ineffective.
The question for Town was, could they maintain their first 45 minutes for the rest of the game?
Salford finally stirred when Danny Whitehead sent a shot crashing just wide from 25 yards.
But that was after more good pressure from Halifax that was just lacking an end product.
The Shaymen had a penalty claim rejected when referee James Oldham deemed Kosylo to have been fouled just outside the box rather than in it. And on first viewing, they looked to have a case.
Chances were harder to come by for Halifax as the second-half went on, with Salford less frail at the back, and looking a little more dangerous going forward thanks to the introduction of Rory Gaffney, who wasn’t afraid to run at the Town defence in good areas.
Gaffney finally registered Salford’s first shot on target with a quarter of an hour remaining, but it was straight at Sam Johnson.
The momentum had gradually ebbed away from Town, who weren’t as smooth and free-flowing as before the break, with perhaps their high work-rate catching up with them.
Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Maher, Berrett, King (Tomlinson 88), Southwell (Preston 64), Kosylo, Quigley (Edwards 64). Subs not used: Rowley, Ferry.
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 6
Salford: Neal, Wiseman, Piergianni, Pond, Touray, Muscatt, Whitehead, Walker, Lloyd (Gaffney 54), Green (Dieseruvwe 75), Rooney. Subs not used: Crocombe, Jones, Rodney.
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 4
Referee: James Oldham
Town man of the match: Cameron King