Grimsby Town 1 FC Halifax Town 1: Shaymen denied by late equaliser
Kian Spence had put The Shaymen in-front, but after several waves of pressure, the hosts finally made the breakthrough.
Defeat would have been an injustice on the home side, who battered Halifax at times, but The Shaymen deserve credit for holding out for so long, and in the end, taking another more than acceptable point at a promotion rival.
The Shaymen were happy and comfortable with the ball in tight areas, playing out exclusively from defence, while Billy Waters and Matty Warburton were constantly alive to nicking the ball high up and starting a counter-attack, like coiled springs.
The hosts were patient and probing on the ball, and looked a threat in wide areas, from which they forced Halifax into some desperate defending just before the half-hour mark with a couple of blocked efforts.
Substitute Alex Hunt skewed a shot wide from the edge of the box before Ben Fox miscued a header from Michee Efete’s cross as The Mariners ended the half the stronger side.
The lively Erico Sousa’s shot was then brilliantly blocked by one of two flying Halifax bodies as The Shaymen held on to half-time amid mounting pressure.
There hadn’t been a shot on target by half-time, but the second-half exploded into life when Jordan Maguire-Drew’s curling shot cracked off the post, and from a corner moments later, Pearson’s header was cleared off the line by Spence.
Halifax hit back with Warburton’s free kick that was tipped over by Max Crocombe.
The Shaymen then produced that counter-attack they’d been threatening, from which Slew’s shot from range parried into Spence’s path by Slocombe, and the midfielder was left with an easy finish.
There were more blocks, more deep defending and wave after wave of attacks from the hosts, with Johnson saving Maguire-Drew’s effort.
Eventually, Town’s resistance, that had held firm thanks largely to superb defending by Maher and Tom Bradbury, finally caved when Maguire-Drew headed a cross from the left back across goal and in.
Grimsby: Crocombe, Efete, Pearson, Waterfall, Crookes, Maguire-Drew, Coke (Hunt 38), Fox (Bell 86), Clifton, Sousa (Wright 78), Taylor. Subs not used: Longe-King, Revan.
Halifax: Johnson, Benn, Maher, Bradbury, Warren, Green, Spence, Gilmour, Warburton (Woods 66), Slew (Stenson 82), Waters. Subs not used: Vale, Debrah, Summerfield.
Referee: Martin Woods