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Warrington Town in the hat for FA Cup first round draw

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WARRINGTON Town will be in the hat for the FA Cup first round draw on Monday after a 2-2 draw with FC Halifax Town.

But they will be disappointed not to have already made it through after a tremendous display against their National League opponents.

They came from an early goal down to lead 2-1 in the second half and the better of most of the match, but must now win away at The Shay on Tuesday night in the replay to progress.

It wasn’t the start Warrington wanted as they fell behind inside four minutes. Samni Odelsi earned a corner down the right and from it, Jordan Preston’s delivery was headed down and past Tony McMillan by centre-back Nathan Clarke.

With two divisions separating the sides, the fear was that this would lead to the visitors flexing their muscles but it was quite the opposite.

For the majority of the rest of the first half, the Yellows dominated playing some terrific football and forcing an incredible 11 corners as they attacked the Cantilever bridge end of the ground.

Goalscorer Clarke pulled off a superbly timed tackle in the box on Jake Kirby, before then blocking Dylan Vassallo’s half volley, as Robbie Evans started to pull the strings for the Yellows.

Even when Halifax looked to break, Mark Roberts were there to intercept on half way and he released Evans who had a shot cleared off the line by Joe Skarz.

In Halifax’s only real foray forward of note, a free-kick won 30 yards out was curled against the crossbar by Dayle Southwell, a timely reminder of their threat.

But minutes later the Yellows restored parrity and in some style too. Kirby crossed right-footed from the left and it evaded Ryan Sellers at the back post for Mackreth to nod down for Ben Garrity, who crashed a volley in the top corner leaving the ‘keeper no chance.

Those that thought that would settle the game down were wrong, as the Yellows continued to launch attack after attack to the Yorkshiremen.

Vassallo’s free-kick from the edge of the box was pushed behind by Sam Johnson, who also had to be alert off the resulting corner when a defender’s flick at the near post headed goalwards.

The first half ended with a relentless spell of corners from the hosts, though they weren’t able to find the second goal, their best chance coming in injury time when a one-two between Vassallo and Tony Gray resulted in the striker hitting a shot well wide.

Anyone who thought half time would give Halifax the chance to re-group were proved wrong just three minutes in to the second half when the Yellows took a deserved lead.

Mackreth terrorised his marker and got a cross in which was swept home by veteran striker Gray for 2-1.

The game continued at a hectic pace, Halifax almost getting back on terms straight away through Matt Kosylo.

But it was the Yellows who would have the better chances, Whittle shooting over the bar and then Kirby forcing a smart stop by the ‘keeper.

Some of the football played by the home side was breathtaking but they were dealt a killer blow on 72 minutes against the run of play.

Roberts inexplicably leaving a ball over the top, thinking it was falling for McMillan behind him, but Kosylo nipped in and finished well to tie the game at 2-2.

As both teams tired in the final quarter, the game remained open as both pushed for a winner. Preston blazed over when well placed with perhaps the best chance.

The two will now go again on Tuesday night in the replay on Tuesday night.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Whittle, Garrity, Roberts, Raven, Mackreth, Evans (Beeley), Gray (Amis), Kirby, Vassallo. Unused subs: Benjamin, Carden, George, Hughes, Williams.

Halifax Town: Johnson, Odelsi, Clarke, Staunton, Preston, Southwell (Edwards), Sellers, Kosylo, Skarz, Lenighan (King), Duckworth. Unused subs: Rowley, McLeod, Hanson.

Tony Gray celebrates

Click here for a gallery of photos by John Hopkins

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About Author

Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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