A brave comeback was not enough to spare ten man FC Halifax Town
their first home league defeat of the season as they went down 4-3 to Woking
Jack Marriott’s hat-trick along with one from Scott Rendell had put the visitors in firm control, despite falling behind to Archie Love’s goal after just 81 seconds.
A Josh Wilson
effort appeared to be a consolation for the Shaymen 15 minutes from time, however a spectacular effort from substitute Dan Gardner
, minutes after Reece Gray had been dismissed, gave the 1033 in attendance a grandstand finale.
Ultimately, ten hellacious first-half minutes in which the visitors scored three goals cost Town’s injury ravaged side dearly, falling 3-1behind after just 17 minutes
Neil Aspin made six changes to the side that lost to Harrogate midweek, with Matt Glennon
, Matt Pearson
, Lois Maynard
, Scott McManus
, Simon Ainge
and Adam Smith
all returning to the starting line-up.
The overhaul in personnel appeared to have had the desired effect when the hosts took the lead within the first two minutes. An exquisite piece of control from Smith instigated the attack before crossing for Burnley loanee Love to tap home from close range.
Unfortunately, the Town fans had little to cheer about for the next hour 70 minutes as the Shaymen failed to replicate their previous dominant home form.
They surrendered the lead just eight minutes later, Kevin Betsy’s surging run and cross caused havoc in Town’s defence, and despite a heroic goal-line block from Pearson, Marriott was on hand to bundle home the rebound.
And just three minutes later the Shaymen were behind. A pinpoint through ball from Josh Payne released Marriott on goal, who calmly slotted past the helpless Glennon.
The visitors compiled the misery in the 17th minute, aggressively penetrating Town’s fragile defence on the counter, which culminated in Rendell slotting home John Nutter’s excellent cross.
Astonishingly the Shaymen nearly fell 4-1 behind in the 22nd minute when Marriott’s deflected strike bobbled wide of
The game entered a lull thereafter, with the Shaymen struggling to break the more reserved Woking
outfit. Only Scott McManus
came close to threatening the goal before the break, but his long-range strike was comfortably saved by Sam Beasant on the brink of the half-time whistle.
The trend continued into the second-half, with Woking
content playing deep and catching Neil Aspin’s side on the counter.
, who was brought on at half-time, added some life to Town’s front line, but for all of their efforts they failed to trouble Woking
’s resolute defence.
The game was seemingly put to bed in the 73rd minute when Marriott finished another blistering Woking
counter attack after Halifax left themselves exposed pushing for a goal.
However, that wasn’t the case.
Town delivered a brisk response when substitute Wilson dispatched a loose ball in the area to give the Shaymen the faintest of home.
That spark, however, seemingly fizzled out straight from the restart, when Gray was shown his marching orders for an alleged stamp on Woking
’s Mark Ricketts.
But there was still some life in Town, who showed pugnacity and effort to give themselves hope once again.
A moment of sheer class from Gardner restored faith in the home crowd, finishing sublimely from 30 yards to give Halifax ten minutes to clinch an unlikely point, but Woking
bravely nullified a barrage of Halifax attacks to claim the three points.