FC Halifax Town continued their assault on the play-off places with a routine 2-0 victory over Alfreton Town, thanks to a brace from top goalscorer Lee Gregory.
The Shaymen moved up to fifth position with a goal in either half from Gregory, that in turn moved him level with Luton’s Andre Gray at the top of the Skrill Premier goalscoring charts.
The first was a goal all about himself, bringing the ball down in the penalty area before turning and curling a low effort into the bottom corner, just out of the reach of the Alfreton Town goalkeeperJon Worsnop.
The second he owes much to the assist of midfielder of Paul Marshall, who motored into the penalty area and curling a lovely ball into the path of Gregory, who had the goal at his mercy and duly obliged by making it 2-0 and securing the points for Neil Aspin’s men.
The first twenty minutes were like the opening of a boxing match with both sides making sure that they didn’t leave themselves open at the back.
Lee Gregory, who before the game admitted his desire to make the step-up to professional football when interviewed by the BT Sport team, was really in the mood and may have seen a couple of decisions go his way on another night. He seemed to have his shirt pulled when a hooked Matty Pearson pass put him in between the two central defenders, but the referee waved away the protests as Gregory fell to the ground just outside the penalty area.
At that point, The Shaymen were beginning to knock on the door of Alfreton’s goal, Paul Marshall flighting a free-kick goalwards that was comfortably saved by Jon Worsnop before a series of trademark Marc Roberts throw-in’s tested the capabilities of a shaky, visiting defence.
Adam Smith then saw his lofted effort from range headed off the line when Worsnop as left stranded in no man’s land after initially saving from Matty Pearson and then seeing a Lee Gregory effort cleared only as far as Smith, who flighted his lob to perfection and was unlucky not to see the ball drop into the net.
There was only one man that was consistently threatening to really open the scoring and that was The Shaymen’s top goalscorer, Gregory. As the clock struck twenty-two minutes, another Marc Roberts’ throw-in caused havoc in the penalty area and the ball dropped to Gregory, who showed why he was top of the bill on the television, turning on a sixpence and curling the ball into the bottom corner past the reach of the sprawling Worsnop.
The Shaymen looked good value for their lead, but may have been happy to hear the half-time whistle as Alrefton began to build up a bit of pressure on Matt Glennon’s goal, without really forcing the Shaymen custodian into any real saves of note.
Alfreton introduced Dan Bradley at half-time, sacrificing Godfrey Poku, a holding midfielder, to accommodate for the greater attacking threat that Bradley offered.
However it was Aspin’s side that came out the stronger and it only took four minutes for The Shaymen to double their advantage.
Paul Marshall with one of the assists of the season, delivering a ball into the path of Lee Gregory who applied the finish from close range into an empty net.
The second goal gave The Shaymen a cushion that allowed them to play with freedom, and the introduction of Marlon Jackson from the substitutes’ bench almost brought a third goal, as his fizzing ball across the face of the goal just evaded Gregory and Smith at the back post.
The final fifteen minutes were quite nervy for The Shaymen, as Alfreton looked to get themselves back into the game. They forced Matt Glennon into a couple of smart saves, but overall The Shaymen defence held firm for their third clean sheet in the last four games.
FC HALIFAX TOWN: Glennon; Bolton, Roberts, Ainge, McManus; Maynard, Pearson, Marshall; A Smith (C Smith 86), Crowther (Jackson 59); Gregory (c).
SUBS: Senior, Lowe, C Smith, Jackson, McReady.
Goals: Gregory 22, 49.
Bookings: Gregory, Ainge, A Smith.
ALFRETON TOWN: Worsnop; Law, Fenton (c), Franklin, Rowe-Turner; Wood, Shaw (Hoganson 73), Poku (Bradley 46); Clayton (Whitehouse 64), Akinde, Harrad.
SUBS: Whitehouse, Hoganson, Jones, Meadows, Bradley.
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