Jamie Fullarton marked his first home match in charge of FC Halifax Town with a victory as the Shaymen came from behind to defeat top-half side Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 at the MBi Shay Stadium.
A cruel, deflected effort from Charlee Adams gave Dagenham a late first-half lead but an own goal from Jake Howells and a guided header from Mike Fondop-Talom earned all three points for Town.
The victory means that Halifax have won back-to-back home matches for the first time since September and move ten points adrift of the relegation zone and up to 15th in the table.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start, threatening with two good opportunities in the space of thirty seconds after half a dozen minutes.
Luke Howell showed fantastic composure in the area to lay the ball off to Michael Cheek who struck a venoumous strike from eight yards but his effort was fantastically blocked by Town captain Matty Brown from close range.
Less than a minute later, Sam Johnson was forced into his first save of the evening as the goalkeeper collected a fierce drive from former Birmingham midfielder Charlee Adams from the edge of the penalty area.
But Halifax responded well with Matty Kosylo, in his new central attacking midfield role, causing problems for Dagenham and creating the Shaymen’s first major chance.
Kosylo was released from half-way by Michael Collins and raced into the penalty area before setting up Raheem Hanley, who made his home debut for Town, but the winger blazed his first-time shot over the bar.
Ten minutes later, the Kosylo-Hanley partnership was again proving problematic for the Dagenham backline as the Town number seven found the Northampton loanee in space in the area before he cut back inside and saw a shot deflect agonisingly wide, much to the frustration of the home fans who thought he’d wrongfooted Mark Cousins.
With just five minutes to go until half-time, a wicked deflection undid all of Town’s hard-work and saw them trailing at the interval.
A speculative effort from 30 yards out by Adams took an awful deflection off Niall Maher and the ball looped over the head of Johnson and, fortunately for the visitors, found its way underneath the crossbar and put the Daggers ahead.
Halifax started the second-period slowly, failing to find the same tempo and intensity that saw them control large periods of the first 45 minutes.
By a considerable margin, Hanley looked to be Town’s greatest goal threat, striking a strong, low effort in the penalty, which was well stopped, after he’d seen a whipping corner cleared well off the line by the hour mark.
Corners continued to be Halifax’s clearest route to goal as Mike Fondop-Talom saw an effort deflect agonisingly wide from his header from a few yards out.
As the game entered its final quarter, Town eventually managed to find the coveted and well-deserved equaliser. Hanley’s lovely flicked pass released Scott McManus down the left and the full-back drilled a cross to the far post which hit Jake Howells and found the back of the Dagenham goal.
Just three minutes later, with the wind now firmly in Halifax’s sails, Town took the lead as a deflection in the area sent the ball high in the area, allowing Fondop-Talom to climb high and nod into the far corner, as he marked his home debut with a goal.
By now, the Shaymen were fully in the ascendency and were unfortunate not to be further ahead with Kosylo only able to find the side netting after Cousins fumbled a Ben Tomlinson strike.
With ten minutes remaining, Fullarton substituted recent additions Hanley and Fondop-Talom, both of whom received standing ovations from the Shay crowd after two magnificent display.
Halifax saw a few nervy moments at the back as they saw out the victory, with Johnson being forced into a fine stop after a long free-kick from Dan Sparkes made its way goalward after beating everyone in the area.
Johnson had to be at his best again in injury time as he tipped a Howells drive round the post whilst taking a strong catch after Brown headed back towards his own goal from a corner.
But, Johnson wasn’t to be beaten a second time as Halifax saw out the dying stages to claim a crucial victory and continue their revival under Fullarton.
FC Halifax Town: Johnson; Duckworth, Brown, Maher, McManus; Tomlinson, Hotte, Collins, Hanley; Kosylo; Fondop-Talom
Subs: Denton, Hibbs, Oliver, Thomson, Nicholson
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins; Nunn, Robson (C), Robinson, Pennell; Howell, Adams, Sparkes, Cheek, Okenabirhie, Howells
Subs: Moore, Kandi, N’Gala, Boucard, Bloomfield
Referee: Simeon Lucas
Read more posts by Jacob Kilbride