Goals from Manny Duku and Devante Rodney earned FC Halifax Town one of their best results of the season as they beat second-placed Solihull Moors 2-0 at The Shay.
Duku’s goal came in a pulsating first-half in which Halifax went toe-to-toe with the promotion-hopefuls and came out on top. The half ended with Solihull’s Lee Vaughan being sent-off.
The second-half was not as rip-roaring but just as satisfying for Halifax as they defended solidly before Rodney sealed the victory.
Halifax’s proud defensive home record came under serious threat early on as Sam Johnson was forced into a fingertip save from George Carline’s header across goal.
Moments afterwards, Alex Gudger spurned a glorious chance when he sent a free header wide from five yards.
It could have been 2-2 in the first 10 minutes, though, with Rodney’s free-kick whistling narrowly wide before James Berrett’s close-range shot was blocked by Vaughan after a burst foward by Rodney.
Berrett then produced an outstanding through ball that sent Duku clean through and the absent Solihull defence could only watch as the striker coolly picked his spot and side-footed past Ryan Boot at his near post.
Moors’ task was then made even harder when Vaughan was dismissed for a high tackle on Kosylo near the halfway line in first-half stoppage time.
Solihull pressed for an equaliser but the points were wrapped up when Rodney’s tenacity won the ball against the last Solihull defender and he kept his cool to slide the ball under Boot in front of the 1,563 crowd.
FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Duckworth, Staunton, Clarke, Brown, Maher, Skarz, Berrett (King 76), Kosylo (Gondoh 86), Duku (Quigley 66), Rodney. Unused substitutes: Rowley, Preston.
Solihull Moors: Boot, Reckord (Yussuf 82), Daly, Gudger, Vaughan, Storer, Carter, Carline, Hawkridge (Williams 84), Blissett, Wright (Hylton 60). Unused substitutes: Maxwell, Stenson.
Referee: S Purkiss (London).
Leyton Orient and Fylde will meet in the FA Trophy final after second-leg semi-final victories.
Justin Edinburgh’s National League leaders Orient, 1-0 up after the first leg, won 2-1 at National League North side AFC Telford United for a 3-2 aggregate victory, Matt Harrold and Josh Coulsen sandwiching Ellis Deeney’s goal.
After a goalless first leg, AFC Fylde won 3-2 against Stockport County at Edgeley Park.
The final will be played at Wembley on May 19. It will be Orient’s first Wembley trip since beating Rotherham United on penalties in the 2014 League One play-off final.