Substitute Jonathan Edwards’ 90th minute goal salvaged a point for FC Halifax Town as they drew 1-1 against Harrogate at The Shay.
George Thomson’s sixth-minute goal looked to have handed Harrogate all three points, but Edwards equalised in dramatic fashion with Halifax’s sole shot on target.
Halifax were too slow out of the blocks - exactly the opposite of their draw on Saturday - and didn’t play to anywhere near their capabilities on a largely frustrating afternoon, but deserve some credit for showing fighting spirit and rescuing a draw, and ultimately, another creditable result against a top-seven side.
Jordan Preston gave Halifax the lead after 18 seconds at Gateshead, but Harrogate’s Mark Beck should have beaten that when he went clean through on goal after blocking a clearance after 10 seconds, but Sam Johnson’s save only delayed a nightmare start for the hosts.
That arrived in just the sixth minute when Thomson - one of four changes for Harrogate from their home defeat to Fylde last time out - saw his cross from the right float over Johnson and nestle into the far corner.
Halifax had been punished for a sluggish start, which continued when sloppy play 30 yards out led to another Harrogate chance, but Johnson easily saved Thomson’s back-flick from six yards.
Harrogate were quicker and sharper, while The Shaymen looked a little shell-shocked at the visitors’ fast start.
Halifax had come from behind to win at Harrogate last week with a second-half performance full of energy, pressing high up the pitch and not giving their opponents time on the ball - but all of that was missing at the start here.
There were only fleeting glimpses of incisive football from Halifax, with a nice one-two between Ben Tomlinson and Matty Kosylo forcing a corner, and an excellent cross-field pass by Tomlinson finding Southwell on the corner of the Harrogate box, but the striker elected to pass rather than shoot, and the chance went.
By half-time, there had only been wayward efforts by Niall Maher, Jordan Preston and Ryan Sellers, none of which were on target, and Halifax’s sixth game in 18 days was looking one too many.
Harrogate striker Beck’s aerial strength had proved a handful for Nathan Clarke and Matty Brown, while midfield anchor man and captain Josh Falkingham was allowed too much time and space on the ball, with fellow midfielders Jack Emmett and Lloyd Kerry popping up in good areas further forward.
Halifax didn’t help themselves with some sloppy passing and hesitancy in possession.
It needed another turnaround from The Shaymen like the one they mustered at Wetherby Road in the reverse fixture.
It took until the hour mark for the Halifax fans to be given something to cheer, first when Tomlinson, having moved to the left flank, cut inside and sent a low shot flashing just wide of the near post, and then when Sellers’ free-kick hit the side-netting from the corner of the Harrogate box.
Dayle Southwell and Tomlinson both had the ball taken off their toes inside the Harrogate box amid Halifax’s first prolonged spell of pressure in the game.
Maher curled a shot wide from a decent position on the edge of the box with 15 minutes to go, with Halifax now the dominant team, but Harrogate defended with resilience, although desperately at times, to keep the hosts at bay.
That was until substitute Edwards struck from a Halifax corner in the final minute of normal time for his first goal since mid-August.
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Sellers, Ferry, Maher, Tomlinson, Preston, Kosylo, Southwell (Edwards 78). Subs: Rowley, Duckworth, Staunton, Odelusi.
Scorer: Edwards (90)
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 9
Harrogate: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Howe, Langmead, Burrell, Falkingham, Thomson, Emmett, Kerry, Beck, Leesley (Muldoon 84). Subs not used: Cracknell, Williams, Lees, Woods.
Scorer: Thomson (6)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 5
Referee: Joseph Johnson
Town man of the match: Jacob Hanson