Halifax stumble but Braintree stalemate pushes them within sight of the play-offs

Lee Gregory.
Lee Gregory.
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FC Halifax Town have all-but sealed a play-off place in the Skrill Premier despite this loss.

The Shaymen took an early lead through Lee Gregory’s 31st goal of the season before two goals in 10 minutes for the hosts swung the game. But Braintree could only draw at Barnet later in the day, leaving them three points behind Halifax, but with an inferior goal difference of nine with one match left to play.

It would take a mathematical maelstrom for Neil Aspin’s side to drop out of the top five, with Halifax playing Kidderminster at home on Saturday and Braintree hosting Grimsby.

Gregory’s opener looked to have set them on the way to deciding their own fate. However, Halifax failed to build on that goal and relied on Matt Glennon to produce some outstanding saves.

Winger Osayamen Osawe was twice denied before Halifax had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down after Luke George appeared to trip Scott Spencer.

Marc Roberts nearly doubled Halifax’s lead shortly before Southport equalised.

George turned in the rebound after Glennon saved from Aristote Nsiala’. Left-back David Fitzpatrick’s stupendous drive proved the match-winner.

Southport: Hurst, Challoner, Nsiala, George, Fitzpatrick, O’Sullivan, Brown, Dillon, Rutherford (Boothman 64), Mukendi, Osawe. Unused substitutes: Joyce, Daly, Henry-Francis.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Bolton, Roberts, C Smith, Lowe, Spencer, (Jackson 46) Maynard, Marshall (Wilson 82), Pearson, McManus, Gregory (Crowther 67). Unused substitutes: Senior, Ainge.

Referee: Darren England.

Man of the match: Matt Glennon.