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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 10 May 12 at 06:13 AM

Town 1 Corby 3

Final Score: FC Halifax 1-3 Corby Town

FC Halifax Town were given a harsh introduction to the Blue Square North as they lost 3-1 to Corby at The Shay.

 

The visitors claimed what may rank as one of their finest results in the whole season while the bumper home support were left stunned as two late goals earned them a memorable start to the season.

Liam Needham was only seconds into his first start in a Halifax shirt before he had to change into another one after a hefty collision left him bloodied and bruised and that seemed to set the tone for a competitive opening to the game with both sides keen to assert their superiority in the middle third.

Danny Holland and Jamie Vardy got Town up and running last season in the opening day win over Buxtonand they both should have repeated the trick within the space of 60 seconds ten minutes in.

Tom Baker's flighted ball found the marauding Aaron Hardy down the right before Holland's dinked cross picked out Vardy but his header sailed over the bar.

 

Holland, already looking in the mood after a strong end to last season, then found himself clear from a long-ball but his low shot was saved by the legs of Chris Mackenzie.

The pattern of away sides setting up camp in their own box was reassuringly played out again as the first-half wore on, with Tom Baker producing some extremely tempting crosses and forcing Corby into last-ditch defending.

Town's formation had been one of the more interesting observations of pre-season, with the 3-5-2 system that has been used throughout the warm-up matches given a slight tweak as Vardy joined Holland and James Dean, and the front three dove-tailed nicely in attack.

 

Dean then became the third of the trio to flirt with the scoresheet five minutes before the break when he flicked on Holland's goalward header in but was denied by the linesman's flag, pondering the immediate question of whether his touch was needed on Holland's seemingly goal-bound effort.

Either side of that, Dean had further chances to find the target but he hit the side-netting when the ball broke to him after a bustling run by Needham and headed over from Lowe's cross.

Other than a Matt Rhead header that was flagged offside, Corby hardly left the increasingly familiar surroundings of their own half, although Needham was required to make a crucial interception ten minutes before the interval after a mazy run by James Ozmen.

 

Dean got closer than anyone to scoring at the start of the second-half with a bullet header from another superb Baker corner but Mackenzie kept it out on the line as Corby were given a taste of what the remaining 43 minutes could have in store.

If anything, the start to the second 45 saw Corby retreat even further into their shell, giving Town the well-known combination of plenty of possession but little room to manoeuvre in the final third.

Such was the away side's inferiority that their first shot on target didn't come until the 58th minute and it wasn't even from one of their players but with it, Corby took the lead.

 

Liam Hogan stooped to head away an in-swinging free-kick for a corner but instead placed into the bottom right corner of Eastwood's goal much to the amazement of the Shaymen supporters about the usually infallible culprit as much as the incident itself.

The reaction of the Corby bench told its own story, with hands thrown in the air like a Mexican wave, suggesting they'd happily shut up shop and take what they'd just been given.

A minute later, though, they were back to square one after a pulsating spell where Jamie Vardycharacteristically came to the fore.

 

He led the Town response with a typically charging run down the left before picking out Hardy on the opposite flank, and his drilled cross left Holland with a tap-in.

Relative one-way traffic was now transformed into an end-to-end tussle as both sides' defensive barriers came down.

Andy Hall had a clear sight of goal midway through the second-half but produced a tame effort when he had time to spare.

 

Matt Rhead's header forced Eastwood into a superb acrobatic save before substitute Lee Gregory got too strong a contact on Vardy's cross from the left as the game suddenly became compulsive viewing.

Stephen Towers then had a goal ruled offside before Sam Ives' shot was saved after a fine run forward as Corby revelled in their new found confidence.

Vardy's curling shot was saved at the other end but the visitors were posing a real problem now and found a second goal through substitute Jordan Smith, who rifled an unstoppable shot into the top right corner from just inside the box after some neat footwork to evade David Haggerty.

 

Halifax's attempts to find a second equaliser became increasingly desperate and as they pressed forward, space was inevitably left at the back and Corby took advantage as Smith played the ball across to Ives for an easy finish.

Halifax: Eastwood, Hardy, Lowe (Gray 68), L Hogan, Haggerty, McManus, Vardy, Baker ©, Dean, Holland (Gregory 72), Needham (Winter 83). Subs Not Used: Senior, Garner.

Goalscorers: Holland (59)

Shots On Target: 5

Shots Off Target: 4

Corners: 7

 

Corby: Mackenzie, McDonald, Mayo, Malone (Gordon 46), Gulliver ©, Ozmen (Ives 68), Hall, Towers, Rhead, Rogan (Smith 61), Burgess. Subs Not Used: Hibbert, Jones.

Goalscorers: L Hogan (OG - 58), Smith (80), Ives (90)

Shots On Target: 9

Shots Off Target: 1

Corners: 5

Attendance: 1,728

Man of the Match: Danny Holland

Tom Scargill

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