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Match Report


Posted Tue 03 Jul 12 at 23:57 PM

FC Halifax Town celebrated after success in their first festive fixture over Gainsborough Trinity – thanks largely to Shaymen right back Ryan Toulson.

The full back had an outstanding game, assisting Town’s first two goals and scoring the third, which his first for any Halifax side after not scoring for the old cub and having been, until this match, goalless under Neil Aspin’s tenure. 

The night had started on a bright note, with Gareth Seddon and Neil Aspin awarded the Blue Square North player and manager of the month awards in front of the East Stand.

Congratulations were also in order for The Shay’s ground staff, who had somehow managed to pamper the turf until in a playable-enough condition for the match to go ahead.

Positive vibes seemed to spread. The game was barely underway before Town had the ball flying into Trinity’s box, though Seddon’s delivery was just too high for Lee Gregory’s head.

During the high-tempo start, it wasn’t just Town who were raining down on Gainsborough’s defence. The heavens had opened, threatening to bring proceedings to an early end and undo the ground staff’s superb work.

Not that Town looked too concerned, as the home side benefitted from the difficult conditions almost straight away.

As a Toulson corner floated in, Gainsborough goalkeeper Jan Budtz flapped, unable to get any real purchase behind his attempted punch. He could only parry to Jon Worthington who, situated just inside the area, placed into the top corner with enough skill as to avoid the 15 players in front of him and put Town a goal up.

It seemed to be the switch that turned on Town’s visitor’s who were hitherto outplayed. They threw men forward, looking to use a direct style in search of their target man, and former Shayman, Darryn Stamp.

He was present for Trinity’s equaliser, though it was his marker who scored it.

Terry Hawkridge’s trickery proved too good for Scott McManus, who was beaten as the winger delivered a delightful cross in front of goal to which Liam Hogan could do nothing but watch as the ball hit him and rolled into his own net.

He arguably made up for the mistake not long after. Bradley Barraclough wriggled his way past Danny Lowe and was bearing down on Matt Glennon’s goal before Hogan’s gladiatorial last-ditch block.

Stamp so nearly scored against his old side, though Glennon was in a smart position to block his header from close range.

Lee Gregory was left red after seeing yellow for diving when through on goal. The forward pounced early on a poor Gainsborough back pass, though his first touch let him down and decided to go to ground when Budtz rushed out. Referee Hussain did not buy the dive, and duly booked the striker.

But why dive when you can just nod your side ahead with the last touch of the half? Gregory nodded in Toulson’s deep cross, despite the best efforts of Budtz to score  give Town a half time lead.  

For the second half Neil Aspin thought defensive reinforcement necessary, as Worsley made way for the defensive experience of Phil Bolland as the Shaymen reverted to a 5-3-2 formation.

Barraclough tested Glennon but the veteran stopper was quick to parry in front of his near post.

Toulson’s already successful night got even better. Not only did he put Town two goals ahead but scored his first Halifax goal in the process. 

In an even more advanced position than normal – thanks to his ultra-attacking role within Town’s 5-3-2 – he received the ball on the right corner edge of the area and, instead of crossing, as he had been doing from the same position during the game, he struck low  into the far corner via the bottom of the post.

Town’s evening could have got even better – this after Stamp hit a post with a header – when Gainsborough defender Danny Hone tagged over substitute Alex Johnson twice in a matter of seconds.

The centre half, who had already been booked, could count himself lucky not to be sent off.

Despite the conditions, which had deteriorated throughout the afternoon, Town looked to play their usual flowing game.

It was too much for Gainsborough, who found it difficult to get a hold of the ball let alone find the net, Town ensuring their fans went home with a late Christmas present of three points.

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