Hall Road were very unlucky not to get at least a point from their trip to high flying Pontefract Collieries as they lost 3-2. Defensive mistakes early on in the game cost Rangers but they grew into it and gave a very good account of themselves.
Hall Road boss Bill Gill was proud of his players for the way they performed against Pontefract and how they created chances. Gill said:
The lads were superb and for me were without doubt the better team in open play taking our chances and creating plenty.
Pontefract were better in front of goal in the first half as they created more opportunities on goal and should have scored more than the two they did get. The hosts saw a header hit the post from a set piece before eventually taking the lead in the 16th minute when Aaron Moxam capitalised on poor Hall Road defending from a corner to slot home.
It got even worse for Rangers in the 18th minute as yet another set piece caused them huge amounts of danger which resulted in Jack Greenhough doubling Pontefract’s lead after James Hitchcock had fumbled his attempted catch of the ball.
Rangers managed to steady the ship for the rest of the half and began to create their own chances as they looked to get back in the game. They pulled a goal back in the 41st minute through a terrific strike by Danny Norton and should have equalised just before half-time as Josh Batty had his shot saved by the Pontefract goalkeeper.
Gill was frustrated with the way his side conceded the first two goals but also credited his opponents for the way they took those opportunities.
Switching off on two set pieces ultimately cost us the game and credit to Pontefract. They do their things well and stick at things and that gave them all 3 points.
Hall Road grew in confidence throughout the second half and matched their opposition in midfield. They weren’t afraid to take the game to their higher opposition and made a positive attempt to get something out of the game.
However, the game hinged on a controversial penalty which was converted in the 63rd minute by Aaron Moxam to give Pontefract a 3-1 lead and it then looked like it was all over for Rangers. They did pull another goal back straight away though as Josh Batty was allowed to run in on goal and calmly slot the ball into the back of the net and gave Hall Road the lifeline that they deserved to have. From then on the visitors desperately tried to find an equaliser as they dominated play and had several opportunities on goal.
The pick of the lot was a long range strike from Jack Bimms which was palmed away by the Pontefract goalkeeper.
Inconsistent Officiating Disappointing
Gill was very disappointed with the awarding of the penalty and lamented how that ultimately prevented his side from getting at least a point from this game.
The most disappointing thing was once again inconsistent officiating for both teams. Myself and Andy didn’t think we could have had worse officiated game after the Liversedge match but I was proved wrong.
The penalty decision spoilt the game and I felt for our lads as they worked so hard and deserved something but we move on to our game on Tuesday against Parkgate.
It was a game where Hall Road should have picked something up from but they will be proud of how they performed against one of the top sides in the division. If they put in this level of performance against the lower sides then they will pick up the points they need to avoid relegation and allow them to play NCEL Premier Division football next season.
Gill is very confident that the togetherness and steel that his players showed in this game will enable them to stay up come the end of the season. Gill concluded:
Our resilience and spirit in this game demonstrated we will be okay come the end of the season I’m sure of that.
Match Report by Oliver Harsley