For the first time this season, FC Halifax Town
won their second consecutive Blue Square North fixture and they did it in emphatic style.
The Shaymen’s quick, intricate passing proved to simply be too good for their visitors, who were outclassed on every square inch of The Shay’s sun-soaked turf, perhaps vindicating Dave Mehew’s decision to keep his players on the pitch for his post-match dressing down.
Gloucester may be technically without residence but Town made sure Mehew’s side did not make themselves at home in The Shay.
Twenty-five seconds was all it took for the Shaymen to stamp their authority on the game as Lee Gregory
was passed to on the edge of the box, from the left wing.
The striker’s quick thinking saw him step over the pass, where an advancing Jon Worthington
was able to latch onto the loose ball and place into the bottom corner of Mike Green’s net.
Another piece of ingenuity by Gregory ensured Town’s lead was doubled just minutes later. An accurate diagonal chip into the box found the front man, who, for a split second, looked to have missed his opportunity before lobbing Green with the outside of his right boot.
Gregory then made it three-nil in emphatic style. Firstly Dale Johnson
was put through one-on-one by Gregory, but Town’s leading scorer could only hit the goalkeeper.
From the resulting corner, the ball was flicked on at the near post. Looping through the air, Gregory plucked from the sky and, using strength to hold off his marker, hit a volley whilst pirouetting to score from an unfathomable angle.
Town’s first half exploits were not done there though, as the Shaymen’s habit of producing excellence for each and every goal continued for a fourth time.
From a wide free kick, Marshall delivered low into the box where Liam Hogan
flicked on – whilst laid on his front – to find Gregory free at the back post. The striker had time aplenty to place into the goal unmarked.
The second half yielded two new faces this season at The Shay, as Scott McManus
replaced Jason St Juste at the break for his first appearance since surgery on a troublesome groin.
More neat work by Town in the box saw Worthington pass and receive with Gregory, but the quick one-two evaded the reach of Worthington’s leg in front of goal.
It was now that the second fresh face appeared, in the form of new signing Simon Hackney. The midfield playmaker wriggled his way threateningly into the Gloucester box within seconds of coming on but could not quite find Gregory at the far post.
It was not long until the striker was in on the action yet again, this time claiming a fourth and Halifax’s fifth.
A simple long ball forward out-foxed the Gloucester defenders, leaving Gregory to knock over the onrushing Green, take a touch and place into an empty net, sending the 1291 fans inside The Shay into more rapturous applause.
Were it not for a last-ditch block by defender substitute Jordan Tilson, Hackney would have opened his Halifax account when he struck at the back post.
It was from that play that Gloucester’s day got even worse as Darren Mullings had to leave the field with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
Now down to ten men, Gloucester could do nothing but try to survive Town’s onslaught. Gregory, always in the action, had two leaping volleys at goal – one blocked, the other acrobatically pushed away by Green before Hackney saw a long-range effort sail into the goalkeeper’s midriff.
From thereon in, Town were comfortable in seeing out the match. They needed only to raise the alarm a couple of times, as Matt Glennon
had to be sharp to block a long-range effort towards his right post before Danny Lowe
gave away possession with the resulting strike comfortably saved.
Town move onto 16 points, their first consecutive win of the season and a second clean sheet in as many games. The signs for the rest of the campaign bode well.