A NARROWER-than-expected win on paper but, in reality a mixture of a 10 man defence and a story of missed chances restricted the scoring to a single goal that came a minute from time.
It was one way traffic from the off with Old Boys probing and teasing the Athletic defence well marshalled by the excellent Matthew Lumb.
The flanks were proving good foraging areas, Peter Kuleczko and Matty Roy’s pace and skill getting them past the opposing full back but, when the ball was crossed, the finish wasn’t there.
Numerous shots and headers were either scooped over the bar, sent wide or fell into the arms of keeper Martin Dawson.
The football building up to the final quarter was creative and positive. The midfield trio of man of the match James Fletcher, Andy Burton and Mikey Pearson, acted as a platform for the forward play of Rob Kenny.
The rare breakaways from Halifax were mopped up by the back four of Joe Nelson Ian Brock, Andy Hall and Luke Johnson, while Jason Hibbert in the home team goal was hardly troubled.
Encouraged by their first half display, Halifax Athletic decided to give it a go and a more confident team pressed, and on some occasions, put Old Boys on the backfoot.
However, again the home defence was too good and attacks tended to fizzle out before they reached Hibbert.
Waves of attacks were once again raining in on Athletic’s goal but a mixture of well organised defending, packing their penalty area, and a fair degree of luck, Old Boys hitting the post a handful of times, allowed them to survive.
Changes were needed and a tiring Kuleczko came off and Alex Tait was put up front with Pearson going to the right hand side.
Almost immediately this had an effect and Tait nearly scored with a header, just being beaten to the ball by Dawson.
Steve Ashford replaced Pearson on the right and again made an immediate impact, his subtle skills bamboozling the Athletic left back.
The final 10 minutes left Halifax Athletic players exhausted but still riding their luck. However, that ran out in injury time with Athletic desperately holding on for extra time.
Fletcher passed to Ashford on the right and he cut into the box before laying a pinpoint ball back into the path of Tait who smashed the ball into the back of the net.