Two goals from loan striker Alex Simmons helped FC Halifax Town to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bradford Park Avenue at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Tom Denton was able to get back amongst the goals finding the net for the first time since Town’s trip to Fylde in August, a six game long drought.
Midfielder Jordan Sinnott also scored for the Shaymen in a dominant afternoon which saw the home side climb back to eighth in the Vanarama National League North.
Town started the game by showing a sign of exactly what was to come. From the off, Avenue were failed to deal with even the mildest of pressure and left acres of room for a roaming Sinnott who fired Halifax’s first effort narrowly over the bar.
Just nine minutes in and Town had the lead. Simmons, who joined on loan from Lincoln City a fortnight ago, was on hand to hook in Denton’s knock-down in acrobatic style and get his name on the scoresheet for his league debut.
Park Avenue crumbled and would go on to concede two more in under ten minutes.
First Tom Denton, who was enduring an uncharacteristic seven game spell without a goal, finally found the net after twelve minutes.
Bradford again failed to clear a tame set piece and their 113 traveling fans were forced to watch agonisingly as Denton was allowed to simply roll the ball into the bottom corner.
For a moment afterwards, the away side looked to go forward but found themselves straight on the back foot with loan-star Simmons making it 3-0 before the 20-minute mark.
Captain Liam King was able to scoop the ball from one corner of the six-yard box, up and over to the other where Simmons was waited to nod home. After barely a quarter of the game was played, Bradford were defeated.
Avenue midfielder Nicky Wroe is a familiar face to everyone in and around the MBi Shay Stadium following his efforts during last season’s National League campaign. The former Town captain was given a warm round of applause after he was substituted due to injury after 40 minutes.
Halifax were gifted the golden opportunity to make it four just before the break. Another defensive blunder left three Blue shirts charging down at stranded Bradford keeper Dan Eccles, but Liam King fired a tame effort straight into his arms.
Ten minutes after the interval and Halifax did make it four. Sinnott had enough confidence to stand up to his defender and beat him with a fake shot before curling his effort around Eccles and into the far corner. If it wasn’t already game over, it well and truly was now.
It was clear as the second half developed that Billy Heath had send his Halifax side back out with clear instructions to shut down the game. The Shaymen manipulated the ball well and made certain that the away side could not get a foothold in the game.
Steve Drench did what all great keepers do and kept his concentration to deny the few chances that the visitors were able to carve out.
A long ball from Daniel Hone provided Town with their next clear cut opportunity. Had Denton have rose high enough to flick-on the pass, Simmons would have been adjudged offside, but instead the pass missed everyone and sent the loan striker through on goal chasing his hat-trick.
Next the 20-year old appeared to run wide with the ball at his feet, closing up the angle, and fired his effort low and wide of the far post.
Connor Hughes and Richard Peniket were introduced to replace Josh MacDonald and Tom Denton in the late stages and both reminded Billy Heath of how influential an impact they can have.
Hughes twisted left and right to create space in the area before he dragged an effort narrowly wide of the far post. The last real chance of the afternoon.
Heath’s Shaymen now host Stalybridge in the FA Cup next Saturday at the MBi Shay Stadium as Town look to reach next round of England’s first cup competition.
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FC Halifax Town
Starting XI: Drench; Roberts, Hone, Garner, Wilde; MacDonald, King ©, Lynch, Simmonds; Denton, Sinnott.
Subs: Nicholson, Peniket (, Moyo, Hibbs (62’), Hughes (56’).
Goals: Simmons (9’, 19’), Denton (13’), Sinnott (56’).
Bradford Park Avenue
Starting XI: Eccles; Toulson ©, Killock, Gumbs, Hill; McKenna, Wroe, D. Boshell, M. Boshell; Sinclair, Dean.
Subs: Kearns, McWilliams, Payne (73’), Dickinson (40’), Sharp (65’).
Yellows: Sinclair (39’), Dickinson (58’).
Attendance: 1761 (113 away).
Man of the Match: Alex Simmons