FC Halifax Town ended a run of five consecutive defeats with a convincing 4-1 victory over Gateshead, taking all three points home from Tyne and Wear despite being down to 10-men.
The win, just Town’s third of the season, moves The Shaymen to within seven points of 20th placed Boreham Wood. A Shaun Tuton hat-trick, completed either side of Kingsley James’ superb long range effort sealed the three points.
Caretaker boss Jim Harvey made four changes to the starting line-up, with Russell Griffiths, Hamza Bencherif, Matty Brown and Kevin Roberts all coming in for Town, setting up in a 3-5-2 formation.
Town began positively, boasting much of the early possession having survived a Gateshead chance as George Honeymoon headed comfortably wide.
The Shaymen broke immediately down the other end but Shaun Tuton saw his effort dealt with easily enough by Sam Russell in The Heed’s goal. Chances were few and far between in an open first 15 minutes, with Ryan Bowman charging through on goal only for the linesman’s offside flag to deny the home side.
Matty Brown headed narrowly over with a looping effort from a corner, while Griffiths was called into action, saving well from Danny Johnson’s deflected strike.
Town deservedly broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute following some fantastic work from Jordan Burrow, who won the all-important corner after bringing the ball down and seeing his shot deflect wide. From the resulting flag kick James Bolton rose highest to nod the ball towards goal, which was met by Tuton on the line to instinctively flick past a hapless Sam Russell for the opener.
With Town buoyed by their goal, they pushed on in search of a second with James seeing his dangerous cross put behind for a corner. However, at the other end a bizarre moment saw Griffiths sent off for colliding with Ryan Bowman, having been adjudged to have fouled the frontman.
Bowman, The Heed’s top scorer, dispatched the resulting spot kick past Jordan Porter, who was brought on in place of Bencherif. Porter managed to get an outstretched hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out as Gateshead found their equaliser.
The score line didn’t stay level for long, as James restored Town’s lead with a thunderbolt from a full 25 yards out. After some sixes and sevens at the back, the ball came to Brown who swung a foot at it, before James rifled home first time with a stunning effort.
Despite being down to 10-men, the extra number didn’t pay dividends for the home side, as Town attacked once more and doubled their lead just before the break.
Scott McManus did brilliantly down the left hand side, pulling a low ball back across to James, who saw his effort blocked by the Gateshead defence, before Tuton took control of possession and made no mistake to slot home on the rebound for his second.
In a cagey start to the second half, Gateshead rung the changes in their attempts to get a foot hold back in the game, with both Nathan Buddle and youngster Adam Wrightson coming on.
The Heed, now passing better, were awarded a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area but squandered it as Pattison blazed over. Johnson was next to try his luck, but witnessed his chance go begging, before Burrow headed inches over from a promising position.
Malcolm Crosby made his final substitution just after the hour mark, bringing on former Shaymen frontman Jon Shaw. After Sunderland loanee George Honeymoon’s effort failed to trouble Porter, Town threatened twice in quick succession with Russell having to be alert to deny Burrow.
A brace of opportunities fell for Town’s leading scorer, with James Bolton supplying a fabulous whipped in cross, only for Burrow to be thwarted by Russell on both occasions. With the game appearing to be fading out, Tuton completed his hat-trick with just 12 minutes remaining.
Tuton’s fifth goal in two games came after a knock down by Burrow was misread by Gateshead’s defence and found its way through to the former Buxton striker, who stylishly rounded Griffiths before tapping home.
The Shaymen could have made it five just moments later, but Burrow saw his effort cleared behind as the clock ran down, with the 10-men of Town holding out to record an impressive third victory of the campaign.