Ref justice as Town pay the penalty
Referee Ian Hussin was at the centre of a contentious clash as FC Halifax Town lost 2-0 at home to Forest Green. Goals from Jon Parkin and Elliott Frear put Rovers in control, a position they rarely looked like surrendering.
Jim Harvey’s unbeaten run had to end sometime, and there’s no shame losing to a side with a budget as big or a team as talented as Forest Green.
But there was a sense of injustice at the manner of the defeat, with Hussin making himself public enemy number one, just ahead of Parkin, by awarding a dubious penalty, the reason for which was lost on most observers.
This fixture ended in controversy last season with a mass brawl at full-time; this time the big talking point came round much quicker.
There was no great appeal from the visitors, but one almighty protest from the home players and supporters.
Sam Johnson saved the initial shot from Parkin, who converted the rebound.
Hussin’s every decision, or lack of, was under heavy scrutiny now, particularly the jousts between Parkin and the Town centre-backs, most of which the home fans felt should have seen the striker penalised.
Burrow nearly produced an instant reply but headed narrowly wide from James Bolton’s cross.
Town then had two penalty appeals waved away within 30 seconds, one for an alleged push on Burrow and another for an apparent kick on Sam Walker.
But there could be no grumbles about Rovers’ second goal as a rapid break was capped off by Frear’s deft finish after the impressive Keanu Marsh-Brown’s superb low cross through the box.
Parkin squeezed in one more foul before the interval as he brought down Hamza Bencherif in front of the dugouts; predictably, Hussin’s decision not to book Parkin prompted another furious outcry, one that was repeated as he walked off at half-time moments later.
Hussin even objected to Town’s second-half restart, making them do it twice.
Another Parkin niggle at Bencherif then finally saw the forward booked, much to the delight of the Town fans; the striker would ironically applaud the South Stand when he was substituted later.
The game then ended in similar scenes to last season as nearly all the players converged to quell a heated exchange between Dale Bennett and substitute Connor Hughes after the former had accused the latter of diving. Halifax: Johnson, Bolton, Brown, Bencherif (Hughes 84), Roberts, Wroe, James, Walker (Peniket 46), McManus, J Macdonald (Fairhurst 62), Burrow. Subs not used: Porter, Hibbs. Shots on target: 4 Shots off target: 5 Corners: 3 Forest Green: Arnold, Racine, Bennett, Pipe, Jennings, Clough, Carter, Sinclair (Williams 90), Marsh-Brown, Parkin (Moore 70), Frear (Guthrie 78). Subs not used: Kelly, Cooper. Scorers: Parkin (19), Frear (30) Shots on target: 8 Shots off target: 6 Corners: 2 Attendance: 1,329 Town man of the match: Scott McManus
Jordan Burrow shoots at the Shay last Saturday
Pictures: Jim Fitton
Josh Macdonald has an effort blocked by a Forest Green opponent