THERE was no dream ‘Wembley double’ for Grimsby Town as they fell again in the final hurdle of the FA Trophy.
Scott McManus’ goal at the start of the second half was enough to send the trophy back to West Yorkshire.
Try as they might, the Mariners simply couldn’t break a stubborn Shaymen rearguard down.
Paul Hurst made two changes from the side that won promotion to the Football League at Wembley last weekend, bringing Andy Monkhouse in for Nathan Arnold and Shaun Pearson for Josh Gowling. There was also a place on the bench for young midfielder Josh Venney, who celebrated earning a new one-year deal with the Mariners.
The Shaymen started well but, once the Mariners got into their stride, they were the ones creating the better chances in the first half.
Jordan Burrow had the first sight of goal on the day but he steered wide from six yards after a loose header left him with just James McKeown to beat.
Padraig Amond saw a header saved by Sam Johnson in the Shaymen goal, following a deep cross by Richard Tait on 17 minutes and then the Halifax stopper got across superbly to claw out Monkhouse’s flick on 33.
But, three minutes into the second half, the Shaymen were ahead. McKeown did superbly to get down and turn away Richard Peniket’s low cross but the ball eventually ran for Scott McManus and he curled a fantastic effort into the top corner from 20 yards.
Halifax had their tails up now and Nolan went into the book for a tussle with Nicky Wroe shortly after.
Toto Nsiala then got across superbly to block James Bolton’s 20-yard shot on the hour – the full back making a great run from deep.
Manager Hurst made attacking changes, bringing Nathan Arnold and Jon-Paul Pittman on for Craig Clay and Andy Monkhouse midway through the second half. The Mariners’ boss also pushed up full backs Tait and Gregor Robertson, as Town adopted an unorthodox 2-4-1-3 formation for the final 20 minutes.
But it almost paid dividends when Arnold cut in from the right but saw first Hamza Bencherif block and then dragged the second effort wide.
That passage of play signalled the end of McManus’ afternoon as he caught his studs on the pitch and ended up on crutches.
Arnold was again denied on 73 minutes, this time by the legs of Johnson after a great through ball by Nsiala.
Pittman then laid off for Robertson on the edge of the area but again the Shaymen had men around to block, as Town poured forward.
The left-back was proving a threat for Town and he rose highest to meet Arnold’s corner in the last minute but could only steer his header at Johnson.
There were four minutes of injury time and the final chance came deep into that period. Goalkeeper McKeown went up for a corner but the ball eventually dropped for top scorer Amond, who swivelled but saw his shot cleared off the line.
Shaymen: Johnson; Bolton, Brown, Roberts, Bencherif, McManus (James); Wroe, Hibbs, MacDonald (Walker); Burrow, Peniket (Hughes). Subs not used: Porter, McDonald
Mariners: McKeown; Tait (East), Nsiala, Pearson, Robertson; Nolan, Clay (Arnold), Disley, Monkhouse (Pittman); Bogle, Amond. Subs not used: Gowling, Venney.
Referee: L Mason