FC Halifax Town
remain winless away from home in this season’s Skrill Conference Premier, as poor discipline again proved their undoing in a 3-1 defeat at Salisbury.
Goals from Elliot Frear, Luke Ruddick and Ben Wright sealed the Shaymen’s fate, but first half dismissals of Kevin Holsgrove and Josh Wilson proved costly, as only a late own goal spared Town’s blushes.
Neil Aspin made two changes from Monday’s win against Southport
and Danny Lowe
came in for Lee Gregory
and Ryan Toulson
, but the Shaymen started on the back foot. Ricky Wellard cut into the Town box, but his shot was dragged wide of Matt Glennon
’s near post.
Town responded quickly though, as tenacious work from Adam Smith forced a corner which narrowly missed the forehead of the advancing Lois Maynard.
Simon Ainge - who kept his place alongside Mark Roberts at the heart of the Town defence – was then to thank for denying the home side the lead, as a ball across the six yard box found Dan Fitchett, but the Town man was there to make a vital interception when a goal seemed inevitable.
But the Shaymen couldn’t keep the scores level for long. After a poor Town corner was cleared by the hosts, Ricky Wellard found himself in acres of space on the half way line and his ball over the top found Elliot Frear, who calmly slotted past the helpless Glennon.
Town did continue to have the majority of the possession, but their task was made much harder on the half hour mark. Kevin Holsgrove – who had toiled fruitlessly for the open period – needlessly kicked City captain Glenn Wilson off the ball and left the referee with no choice but to send him off.
Salisbury then twice threatened to make their numerical advantage count, as first Rob Sinclair was just unable to capitalise from a defensive mix up from Roberts, and then good work from Fitchell found McPhee, but his shot was never worrying Glennon.
But it was to be a case of déjà vu for the Shaymen, as poor discipline would cost them again before the break. Josh Wilson – clearly unhappy with the physical treatment he was receiving from the City backline – was involved in another off the ball altercation and would be the second Town player to be sent from the field, leaving the Shaymen with nine men before the interval - just as they were at Cambridge on the opening weekend.
Town did have their best chance of the half right on the stroke of the interval, as Dan Gardner
’s fierce free kick fizzed narrowly over the Salisbury crossbar.
Neil Aspin reacted by bringing on Sean Williams for the hard-working Gardner at the break, but Salisbury continued to dominate early on. Marc Roberts forced to hook a wicked cross from under his own crossbar and Simon Ainge providing a number of crucial aerial clearances to keep the deficit at one.
Town showed great grit and determination at the Abbey Stadium in similar circumstances, and created openings whenever possible here. Lois Maynard unlucky to see his half volley flash into the side netting after an Adam Smith free kick.
But Salisbury should have had a second on the hour mark. A delicious cross from Frear found Fitchell all alone at the back post, but he boomed his header well over Glennon’s crossbar. Rob Sinclair then fired over when free in the area, after some splendid build up play.
Town’s aggression to bag an equaliser nearly backfired though shortly after, as a quick break from City found Frear again with space on the left wing, and his pinpoint cross landed plum in front of Chris McPhee, but his vicious volley smashed off the Town crossbar.
But the killer blow wasn’t far behind. A foul in midfield by substitute Alex Johnson
kick started another rapid counter attack for the hosts, and when the ball found Luke Ruddick in space on the right hand side of the Town area, he couldn’t miss.
Town continued to toil and thought they should have had a penalty when Marc Roberts was floored from a Williams set piece, but the referee was unmoved.
But Salisbury weren’t done. A cross partially cleared by Marc Roberts fell to substitute Ben Wright, and his superb curling shot from the edge of the box was too good for Glennon to put the home side out of sight.
New signing John McReady made his Town debut late on, and his new teammates responded, as a Sean Williams corner was bundled into his own net by Salisbury skipper Glenn Wilson.
Simon Ainge had a goal disallowed in injury time for a foul on Puddy, but Town are left again to wonder what might have been had they kept 11 men on the pitch.
: Puddy, Ruddick, Clarke, Wilson (c), McPhee, Wellard, Frear, Kamdjo, Sinclair (Thomson 81), Fitchett (Wright 70), Belezika (Brett 58)
Subs: Hart, Brett, Wright, Thomson, MacDonald
Goals: Frear (22) Ruddick (69) Wright (81)
Yellow Cards: Clarke (90)
FCHT: Glennon; Ainge, Lowe (c), Roberts, McManus; Pearson (McReady 86), Maynard; Smith (Johnson 64), Gardner (Williams 46), Wilson; Holsgrove
Subs: Senior, Williams, Johnson, Marshall, McReady
Goals: Wilson OG (86)
Red Cards: Holsgrove (31) Wilson (42)