Battling draw at Halifax could have been a victory
COLWYN BAY again showed great character to come from behind, for the third time over the Bank Holiday weekend, to bag a battling point in a 1-1 draw at Halifax today (Monday).
The Seagulls would probably have accepted a point before hand against one of the promotion favourites, but in the end, just like Saturday's draw with Bradford Park Avenue, this was game they could have won.
Having matched Halifax for a lot of the game, they gave away another soft goal to put the home side in front, while at the other end they hit the bar, had another effort cleared off the line and squandered two excellent scoring opportunties.
The first of those was another gilt-edged chance when Jon Newby was put
clear on goal by a poor backpass, but as Halifax keeper Jonathan Hedge came out to meet him, Newby put his shot wide from 18 yards.
Player-boss Dave Challinor admitted he will look back at the weekend with mixed emotions.
"We have shown a lot of character to come from behind and get the two draws, which I am pleased about, and I am happy with the way we have played for the most part, but I had been hoping for at least four points out of six - and in all honesty it could have been all six.
"We've conceded another soft goal today and that is very disappointing, while Newbs (Newby) has held his hands up afterwards and admitted he should have scored when he was one-on-one with the keeper.
"But we will keep plugging away and trying to improve.
"I have just put in seven days for an attacking midfielder who I hope I can bring in. He is the type of player who bombs forward and gets into goalscoring positions ahead of the strikers and that should increase our goal threat if we can get him.
"We are a bit limited in what we can do attacking wise at the moment and the likes of Shedz (Ian Sheridan) and Titch (Alex Titchiner) have not yet fully caught up with the pre-season work they missed. But we went to Halifax with a game plan which worked for the most part and on another day it would have got us a very good win.
"People will say a draw was a good result, but it is only a good result if we follow it up with a win against Hucknall on Saturday."
Ian Sheridan was unlucky not to score inside four minutes when his shot hit the crossbar with the keeper beaten after Newby and Mick McGraa, who I thought had a tremendous game in midfield, had set up the opening.
Newby was then guilty of that bad miss when clean through on the keeper, but this was not one of his better games and he admitted afterwards that three games in seven days while carrying a slight injury had taken its toll on him physically.
The Seagulls also had to put skipper Damien Allen on the bench after he reported feeling unwell in the morning, and when he came on in the second half he made a notable difference to the Bay's play.
The fresh legs of Alex Titchiner and Lee Davey from the bench also helped Colwyn Bay finish the game strongly and create an opportunity to win the game late on.
Chris Sanna, having not been unduely tested previously, made a fine double save from Scott Metcalfe and Richard Marshall just before half-time to keep the side's level at half-time, and Michael Lea, who also had an excellent game at left back, threw himself into a goal-saving interception in front of goal when a low left wing cross was arrowing towards the unmarked Jamie Vardie.
Goalless at half-time was a good position for the Seagulls, but a moment's hesitancy by Sanna cost him dear on 55 minutes when he arrived a fraction too late to try and collect a high ball into the box and Marshall just beat him to it to head into an unguarded net from 14 yards - getting a bloodied nose for his bravery in the process.
The Bay had to defend desperately in a torrid 10 minute spell after that as Halifax went in for the kill, but the introduction of the three substitutes helped get some control back in the game and they equalised on 77 minutes.
Challinor had a shot cleared off the line from a Michael Lea corner, and from the resulting second corner Danny Grannon volleyed into the net when Hedge could only palm out Davey's header.
The Bay could then have won it in the closing minutes when Newby played Davey in on the right, but he pulled his shot wide of the far post when a square ball would have found the unmarked Titchiner racing up in support.
Bay ended the bank holiday weekend in 14th place with five points from four games, but they are only two points off the top seven and victory against Hucknall on Saturday could make a big difference to their position.
It is already looking to be a very competitive division with everybody having dropped points so far and only two sides (Ashton United and Ossett Town) still unbeaten.
Colwyn Bay: Sanna, Denson, Lea, Challinor, Grannon, McGraa, Sheridan (Davey 79mins), McLachlan, Noon (Titchiner 76mins), Newby, O'Sullivan (Allen 65mins). Subs not used: Bailey and Brandreth.
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