Cheltenham thrashed FC Halifax Town 7-1 in Darren Kelly’s first match in charge to condemn Town to their heaviest defeat of the season and end a five-game unbeaten home run.
A Jack Munns hat-trick, two of which came in the final minutes, gave the away side a comfortable margin of victory, after Kingsley James’ first goal for Town had brought The Shaymen level. Goals from Amari Morgan-Smith, Danny Wright, Harry Pell and substitute Bill Waters completed the rout.
After a sluggish opening to the match, Town created the first real chances, with Jordan Burrow working some space for Danny Racchi to fire over, before Town’s top scorer looked to get in on the act, but saw his header sail just over following a brilliant cross by James Bolton.
The Shaymen were beginning to take control of proceedings just as Cheltenham provided the sucker punch on the break. Having edged the run of play in the opening exchanges, Town fell behind in the 11th minute as Danny Wright played in Munns, who smashed home from just outside of the box.
A succession of headers from the visitor’s captain Aaron Downes followed, with both bouncing narrowly wide of the mark. As Town countered over half way in search of an equaliser, Burrow played the ball across to Hamza Bencherif, who curled a delicious effort from 25 yards on target, only to be met by the hands of Dillon Phillips.
Jack Bartram raced towards Town’s box and unleased a stinging drive that Matty Glennon had to be at his best to parry behind for a corner, before The Shaymen broke away and found the equaliser following some excellent play.
Josh Macdonald charged into The Robins half, before squaring an inch perfect cross to the feet of James, who composed himself and fired home his first goal for the club. Town took the momentum from the leveller and looked to snatch the lead, but Burrow’s effort was hacked away and cleared.
Kyle Storer wasted a glorious opportunity to hand the away side the lead as he blazed over to the home fans delight, who were silenced shortly after when Amari Morgan-Smith raced past Town’s back four and slotted a left footed effort past Glennon’s right hand side from the edge of the box.
The home side could have fallen further behind before half time, but Wright failed to capitalise after breaking into the 18 yard area before shooting over.
Town were hit by with a huge blow almost instantly after the break, when a bizarre cross come shot by Munns evaded everyone and somehow found its way into the net, creeping past Glennon into the far corner. Despite suspicions of offside in the build-up, Wright was eventually awarded the goal which stood.
It didn’t take long for things to go from bad to worse for The Shaymen, as Cheltenham made it four just before the hour mark. Wright was again the provider, this time playing through Harry Pell, who slotted past Glennon to put the game beyond reach.
A stinging shot from Connor Hughes was parried away, before Kevin Roberts tried his luck with a low drive, also met by the hands of Philips. New boss Kelly rolled the dice by making a triple substitution with Shaun Tuton replacing Macdonald, while Racchi was switched with Sam Walker. The final change saw Dany Hattersley come on in place of Bencherif.
With Cheltenham now in full command, substitute Bill Waters got in on the act when he smashed home to make it five in the 80th minute, before Munns added his second goal ten minutes later with a strike which flew into the top right hand corner.
There was even time for a seventh in added time, as Morgan-Smith drew a foul from Walker in the box. Munns stepped and sent Glennon the wrong way to complete his hat-trick, to fire Cheltenham up to second and keep Town well inside the bottom four.