Hall Road boss Bill Gill says he is pleased with the progress of his side following the first half of the season in the NCEL Premier Division.
“At the turn of the year we wanted to be sitting around 10-12th place and we aren’t too far away from that,” he said.
“We have a superb group of players, a hard working committee and loyal fans which is very positive looking to the second half of the season.
“We had 5/6 great opportunities in the first half including hitting the woodwork twice.”
Gill’s reflection comes after another frustrating afternoon for Hall Road Rangers at Haworth Park as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Barton Town. It could have been a different story altogether had Rangers took their chances in the first half, they ultimately lived to regret those spurned opportunities as they suffered yet another setback on home soil.
If any side was to score a goal in the first half it would have certainly been Hall Road as they carved out 5 or 6 reasonable goalscoring opportunities. It was a combination of poor finishing from Rangers and the superb work of Sam Riches in the Barton goal that stifled any possibility of those chances being converted into goals.
Danny Norton had two shots blocked by the Barton defence and also saw another shot deflected over the bar. Conner Harman and Tom Bennett both had instances where they failed to connect with the ball and if they had then Rangers would have scored a couple of goals. The best chance came just before half time as Chris Spinks saw his shot go just wide of the mark which ended a half where Hall Road should have scored 4 or 5 goals.
Barton began to grow in confidence at the start of the second half having come through unscathed in the first half. The main difference between these two sides was that The Swans made sure their chances counted and this was crucial to giving the visitors all 3 points. Barton took the lead in the 69th minute when Jordan Day headed home from a corner and was helped by some poor marking by Hall Road. This goal gave the balance of power to The Swans and they looked a completely different side from the one in the first half that looked vulnerable defensively. The Swans doubled their lead in the 90th minute when Joseph McCormick slotted home into an empty net after Hall Road goalkeeper James Hitchcock was robbed of possession after rushing out from his goal.
After half time, Barton got more possession but Rangers still looked the most likely team to score but poor marking for another corner cost them. From there on, they looked rushed and started to commit more bodies forward which ultimately lead to Barton’s second goal.
It wasn’t the best result to have just before Christmas but it means that it will be important for Hall Road to bounce back in the new year, as they look to consolidate a top half position in the NCEL Premier Division table.