FC Halifax Town fell to a third straight defeat at home to Torquay United, who left The Shay 3-2 victors over The Shaymen.
Torquay took the lead through Angus MacDonald as he nodded home a long throw in, but Town equalised from the restart as Jordan Burrow tapped home after having an initial header saved.
The Gulls went in front again via James Hurst after heading a free-kick past Matt Glennon, only for Burrow to equalise for a second time after neat play by Connor Hughes. Torquay were again able to go back in front though, Alex Fisher capitalising on some poor marking midway through the second half.
Shooting from left to right in the first 45, Halifax operated with a more conventional front two, Andy Bishop coming into the side to assist Jordan Burrow. Bishop replaced Elliott Whitehouse, as Jake Hibbs and Kingsley James started in central midfield.
It was James who had the first effort of the game, but his low 30 yard effort drifted harmlessly wide of Fabian Spiess’ goal. Josh MacDonald then almost fed a perfect through ball into the path of Bishop, but Spiess emerged well to gather at the forward’s feet. Town kept up the pressure and were centimetres away from taking the lead after 15 minutes.
Scott McManus’ run saw him lay off to Andy Bishop, whose cutback found Hibbs. But the youngsters flashed past the left hand post, with most of The Shay waiting to celebrate what should have been a goal. And minutes later, Torquay made Hibbs pay for that miss as they utilised the long throw of Exodus Geohaghon. The towering centre half launched into the box, where Angus MacDonald nodded on at the near post over the head of Matt Glennon to put the visitors into the lead.
But Town didn’t have to wait long to equalise, as Jordan Burrow was the man to tap home. A foul on Shaun Tuton allowed MacDonald to swing one into the box, where Burrow’s initial header was blocked, but he was on hand to tap home for Town’s first home goal of the campaign. But they were on level terms for all of seven minutes.
James Hurst became the second Torquay defender to find the net when he was able to shake off James Bolton’s challenge and nod past Glennon after Daniel Butler’s dangerous free-kick, leaving Town with a job to do once again. Tuton nearly equalised when presented with James’ centre, his shot from six yards blocked point blank range by Spiess, with Torquay able to clear and hold their lead.
The visiting side almost grabbed a third again through MacDonald, whose low left footed shot was well held by Glennon. Tuton looked as dangerous as he did on Tuesday nights game for long spells of the first half, and his wonderful cross was met by Burrow before the break, but the Town goalscorer’s head rose over Spiess’ goal.
The half-time introduction of Connor Hughes paid dividends within two minutes, as the winger put through a perfect pass to Burrow to equalise. Hughes’ was on the end of James’ header, and cut through to Burrow who slotted into an empty net from a yard out to put Town level again.
That goal gave Town the impetus to push on, and the influential Hughes almost added a goal to his assist. The winger’s left footed effort had Spiess stretched, and the Gulls keeper did superbly to fingertip behind.
Torquay were again able to go back in front though as Town’s defence switched off for a third time. Alex Fisher was able to tap home on the hour mark from Gulls pressure on the right hand side, much against the run of play in a half Town had been on top of. Town continued to press in search of a third, and almost found one with a minute of normal time to play.
Hibbs, a proven set-piece specialist this season, fired inches wide for the second time of the afternoon. The injury time dismissal of Bayan Fenwick added more to the Halifax attack, as the substitute was shown a second yellow for kicking the ball away.
But Town couldn’t find an equaliser and succumbed to the third defeat in this new season.