FC Halifax Town 3 Eastleigh 3: Shaymen battle back for a point

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town
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Ten-man FC Halifax Town came from 3-1 down to salvage a 3-3 draw against 10-man Eastleigh in a dramatic game at The Shay.

A disastrous five minute spell saw Sam Matthews find the net straight from a corner and Chris Zebroski head in from another corner.

Scott McManus’ penalty, yes a penalty, got Halifax back into a contest they’d easily had the better of.

Sam Johnson was sent-off just before the hour-mark, and from then on there looked no way back, especially when Simon Heslop added a third.

But McManus’ excellent cross was converted by Tom Denton before Eastleigh keeper Ross Flitney was also dismissed for a second booking.

There was one last twist when substitute Dan Batty drove in after a good run and pass by Josh Macdonald.

The hosts were made to regret not turning their early pressure into a lead in bizarre fashion when Sam Matthews’ in-swinging corner was carried over the line by Johnson.

Town protested furiously that their keeper was pushed, but to no avail. And Halifax were also aggrieved when Flitney was only booked for clattering into McManus, who had go in behind the Eastleigh defence.

It went from bad to worse when substitute Zebroski turned in a flicked-on corner to complete a remarkable five minute spell wholly at odds with the 15 minutes that had preceded it.

But Town were handed a lifeline when Danny Clarke was fouled in the box, and finally, the hosts scored from the spot through McManus.

Johnson unnecessarily raced off his line and brought Matthews down out wide, and was given a second booking; his first having come for kicking the ball away after conceding Matthews’ goal.

The game took another twist when Denton turned in McManus’ cross before Flitney was shown a second yellow card for refusing to hand the ball back.

Batty then found the net in the 90th minute to dramatically rescue a point, reward Town for their spirited comeback and possibly keep his manager in the job.

Halifax: Johnson, Clackstone (Waring 83), Brown, Hotte (Batty 78), Wilde, Macdonald, Clarke, Hibbs, McManus, Denton, Morgan (Nicholson 59). Subs not used: Moyo, Middleton.

Scorers: McManus (39), Denton (73), Batty (90)

Shots on target:13

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 7

Eastleigh: Flitney, Hoyte, Boyce, Howe, Miley, Heslop, Shaw, Yeates, Matthews (Obileye 75), Williamson (Zebroski 19), McCallum (McCallister 68).

Subs not used: Constable, Hudson-Odoi.

Scorers: Matthews (16), Zebroski (21), Heslop (64)

Shots on target:7

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 7

Attendance: 1,407

Referee: Karl Evans

Man of the match: Jake Hibbs