After defeating Corby in robust fashion on Thursday night, Neil Aspin declared that his side may need more of the same battling qualities to win their remaining Blue Square North matches. His summation was correct, as FC Halifax Town
fought their way to another three points in south Lincolnshire.
It was departing loanee Alex Titchiner who ensured the Shaymen three points for the second consecutive game, as he provided the 68th-minute goal which saw off a strong Boston United
He leaves his time in west Yorkshire as a popular man amongst the Shaymen faithful, who gave him a well-deserved standing ovation upon leaving the field with five minutes of the match remaining.
Boston were one of few teams looking to complete the double over Aspin’s side this season, after the Pilgrims’ 2-1 victory at The Shay in October. Since then, however, United have seen the back of two managers, having recently hired Dennis Greene following a successful interim reign.
They are a club that is far better than what a position of 12th in the Blue Square North would suggest, and having won four and drawn one of their seven matches under Greene before today (a stark contrast to earlier season form) have already set their sights on a play-off place next season.
And it was the Shaymen who had early cause for concern when Lee Gregory
had to leave the field following a clash with full back Conor Marshall, which looked to have re-injured the striker’s nose.
Gregory’s match was ended the last time he took a blow to the nose, however this time he was patched up sufficiently to allow him to return to the action.
He slotted back into a reshuffled Town line-up, which saw a first start for James Bolton, fresh from scoring his first goal for Town in the victory over Corby two days ago.
He lined up alongside four defensive peers as Aspin switched to a 5-3-2 formation for the trip to the historic York Street ground, a conclave within a myriad of warehouses and terraces, which also had, looking rather pleasantly over it, St. Botoloph’s Church.
With its uniquely tall tower, the building is known locally as ‘the Boston Stump’, though it was the 1,069 fans inside the ground who were stumped as to which way the evenly-matched fixture would go, especially in the opening exchanges.
Phil Watt had the first clear chance of the match, after Jon Worthington
had earlier blasted over from range, when the possession fell to him inside the Town box. As the ball came over his shoulder, though, the centre back was unable to prevent volleying high into the Jakemans Stand behind the goal.
Ben Fairclough, the small Boston winger, then had a tame effort from outside the area, which Matt Glennon
gathered and played forward with pace, as the game gathered momentum.
From the kick, Gregory latched onto the ball, which somehow managed to find its way through the amber and black defensive ranks, and looked to chip Dan Haystead from the edge of the area. With the goalkeeper beaten, Gregory could only watch as his effort dipped just over the crossbar.
Marshall then struck from range at the other end and for a second had Glennon scrambling towards his left upright, though the shot eventually skewed just wide.
With the game opening up further with every minute that passed, Town seized the initiative, and with it, the lead in the match.
Quick feet from Worthington in midfield took the ball away from two Boston challengers, before playing wide to Ryan Toulson
, advanced in his wing back role, who swung in a pinpoint cross, onto which latched a free Chris Worsley
, who only had to place home with the side of his foot.
Town started the second period with intent, and within a minute of the restart nearly found themselves two up. Titchiner found space inside the box and struck on the turn, though his effort crashed into the bottom of the post.
The striker, playing in his final match on loan from Fleetwood Town, was in action again soon after as Town broke quickly against the home side. Sean Williams chipped into the box for Titchiner at the far post though due to the height of the cross, he had to attempt an acrobatic overhead kick, which he could not quite connect cleanly.
Despite their dominant start to the second half, a rash challenge from James Knowles gifted Boston a route back into the match. The former Bradford Park Avenue
defender chopped down opposition full back Gary Silk in the area, the penalty for which Marc Newsham duly despatched to level the scores.
The goal seemed to give the home side a lift, Greg Mills played a low cross in, which seemed to fox the Town defence, as Glennon collected off the toe of Newsham, who ghosted in behind undetected.
Ian Ross was next to test Glennon, the captain’s free kick from outside the area had to be pushed away by the Town goalkeeper, though he was left rooted from the resulting corner, as Ross swung the set piece low towards the front post and Newsham again ran undetected to poke just wide.
Under immense pressure from the home side, it seemed the perfect time for Titchiner to provide a parting gift to Aspin and his side. Toulson played into Titchiner’s feet on the right angle of the Boston box, where striker turned his marker with pace, strode into the box, and placed past Haystead in front of the 175 delirious travelling Town fans.
After their earlier breath of fresh air, Titchiner’s goal looked to have winded Boston, who struggled to create anything like the pressure they had before going behind. Ross had the best chance for another home equaliser but could do no more than hit straight at Glennon from six yards.
Instead it was Town who looked more likely to further their lead. Glover, on for Worsley, struck with an effort that was goal-bound until deflected over.
This win moves Town one giant step closer to securing a play-off place, as the Blue Square North fixtures keep coming thick and fast.
Attendance: 1,069 (175 Town fans)
FC Halifax Town
| 2 (Worsley, 41) (Titchiner, 68)
1, Matt Glennon
|2, Ryan Touslon |3, Scott McManus
|4, James Bolton |5, James Knowles |6, Danny Lowe
(C) |7, Chris Worsley
|8, Sean Williams |9, Alex Titchiner |10, Lee Gregory
|11, Jon Worthington
(Subs: 12, Phil Senior
| 14, Danny Glover (Worsley, 82) |15, Alex Johnson
(Titchiner, 85) | 16, Jason St. Juste | 17, Liam Needham
Bostin United | 1 (Newsham pen, 55)
1, Dan Haystead |2, Conor Marshall |3, Gary Silk |4, Ben Fairclough |5, Phil Watt |6, Nathan Stainfield |7, Ian Ross (C) |8, Ben Milnes |9, Spencer Weir-Daley |10, Marc Newsham |11, Greg Mills
(Subs: 12, Tom Ward | 14, Charley Sanders (Fairclough, 80) |15, Jason Field | 16, Anton Foster (Mills, 67