Halifax 2 - 3 Town. LEE FOWLER sealed the win with his first Town goal six minutes from time - but it was very hard work for Peter Jackson's side who definitely rode their luck.
Town, in fact, were trailing 2-1 (and deservedly so) with only 10 minutes left when Jon Newby popped up to level the scores and Coventry trialist Fowler added the killer in a patchy team display.
It was rough justice on Chris Wilder's impressive Conference outfit, who led with classic strikes from Ryan Mallon and Danny Hudson either side of a similarly crisp Jon Stead finish.
Among the large Town following in a crowd of 2,183 at The Shay was ex-McAlpine keeper Nico Vaesen, who is on the comeback trail at Birmingham City following a cruciate knee ligament injury.
He saw Town struggle at the start, being punished after only three minutes by Mallon's cracking right-foot volley, and it was only after a couple of decent runs by the returning Danny Schofield that Town started to show anything like the cohesion which proved too much for Wakefield and Emley.
Stead, who missed that match with concussion, was wide awake on 23 minutes to chest down Martyn Booty's invitation and whack a cracking volleyed equaliser past Adam Sollitt.
While Steve Yates and Ian Hughes battled hard and Fowler showed glimpses of impish ingenuity in the centre, Hudson's 40th-minute volley - Ian Gray again had no chance - gave Halifax an advantage they looked like extending as both manager's made significant changes during the second half.
While Schofield fired across the face of the home goal early on, Town were lucky to survive going further behind when Lee Elam capitalised on Rob Edwards' bad backpass on 58 minutes. When he crossed to substitute Andy Farrell, Edwards somehow managed to block on the line and Gray parried the follow-up from Craig Midgeley against a post.
The goalmouth scramble continued with Mallon having a shot blocked against the other upright.
Even then, Farrell had the ball in the net from an offside position while Booty had to race back and clear from near the line to deny the troublesome Midgley.
If Halifax - with former Town man Michael Senior on as a sub - thought their luck was out at that stage, it was confirmed 20 minutes from time when Midgley nipped past Hughes and crossed for Jon Cullen, whose shot was hacked from the line yet again by Edwards.
At that stage, it looked like Halifax were going to take a pleasing scalp, even though substitutes Paul Scott, Andy Holdsworth and Andy Booth were starting to show some influence for Town.
Booth, in particular, was winning everything in the air - he nodded just wide from a Booty cross 12 minutes from the end - and the big man played a major part in Town's determined finale.
Nine minutes from time, as Tyrone Thompson fed Booty for a pass into the box, Booth's dummy left Newby beyond the defence and he made not mistake with an angled right-foot drive.
Three minutes later, after a machine-gun spell of passing in midfield in which Booth and Scott were fully involved, Fowler romped into the box and drove a shot which Sollitt almost blocked but could not prevent from trickling into the net.
Fowler ran in front of the Town fans with his arm held high and you get the firm impression he's going to be a popular addition if his loan from Highfield Road can be secured.
If he can get the a few goals then great, but it was the two tackles which flattened Elam near half-way which really caught the eye.
Some midfield steel will not go amiss as Jackson tries to piece together a squad with just three weeks to the big kick-off against Cambridge.
There's a good deal of work still to be done and, if nothing else, Saturday's test will have prevented anyone getting too carried away about Town's prospects for the new campaign.
Maybe the best gauge will come on Wednesday at the McAlpine, when Marcus Stewart and Sunderland are the guests.
Halifax - Sollitt, Hockenhull, Sandwith, Hudson (Cullen 45), Monington, Garnett (Stoneman 67), Mallon (McAuley 63), Midgley, Lee (Farrell 48), Killeen (Bushell 45), Elam (Senior 63). Sub not used: Poole.
Town - Gray, Booty, Edwards, Fowler, Yates, Hughes (Ahmed 86), Thompson, Holland (Scott 60), Stead (Booth 60), Newby, Schofield (Holdsworth 60). Subs not used: P Senior, Lloyd, Kenworthy.
Referee - Andy Nicholson (Halifax).
Attendance - 2,183.