Lee Gregory scored his 100th goal for the club, and placed himself back at the top of the league’s scoring charts with his 29th of the season as FC Halifax Town swept Barnet aside. Scott Spencer netted his first two tallies for the club before half time, and Lois Maynard fired in a fourth to ensure the travelling Shaymen fans went away happy.
The game kicked off at 1507BST in remembrance of the 96 Liverpool fans that lost their lives at Hillsborough 25 years ago.
The first half started in shaky fashion for Halifax, with Mark Byrne firing an early effort towards Matt Glennon’s top corner, but the keeper got up well to tip it over the top of the bar and a corner within 60 seconds. The resulting set piece was driven low to Jake Hyde, and his shot was deflected toward’s Glennon’s goal but again he was able to tip wide.
From that point on, the game was all Halifax, and the Shaymen were duly rewarded on 5 when Scott Spencer followed up on a saved Lee Gregory dink to bag his first goal for the club. Lois Maynard was fouled inside the centre circle but jumped up and quickly played the free kick between the centre backs for Gregory. He looked set to net his 100th goal for the club, but Stack got his had to it, but only as far as Spencer inside the box.
Barnet looked rattled and in truth Halifax could have had another two minutes later as goalscorer Spencer caught a lucky break off his face and played a ball to Gregory’s feet who forced a corner. Marshall’s delivery, exemplary throughout, almost found Roberts but his man was able to another corner, from which Spencer’s drive was blocked.
Barnet looked bereft of confidence when they had the ball at feet, and it was a case of when, rather than if Town would make it two.
The travelling Shaymen fans only had to wait until the 23rd minute to celebrate their team’s next goal, and with it Lee Gregory’s 100th for the club. Marc Roberts elected to throw back to Marshall, who had all the time in the world to swing a ball to the head of Chris Smith, and his knock down found Lee Gregory in Lee Gregory territory, and he needed no second invitation to bag his 29th league goal of the season.
The goal sparked the Barnet bench into action, with manager Martin Allen replacing Connor Dymond on 25 with Keanu Marsh-Brown who gave the Bees an outlet down the right as soon as he was introduced.
It took until the 27th minute for Glennon to be troubled a second time, and he turned Jon Nurse’s cross into the box, but as ever, was able to count on his defence to clear, as Scott McManus got a toe on the ball to win his side a throw.
Town scored their second just after the half hour mark, and Scott Spencer grabbed his second of the afternoon.
Lee Gregory brought the ball down well and fed Scott McManus, whose driven cross in from the left was bundled into the back of the net by Spencer, much to the delight of his team’s fans up the other end.
Town looked threatening each time they entered the Barnet half, and four minutes later Marc Roberts rose highest of all to head just wide of Graham Stack’s right hand post.
Barnet could have pulled one back seven minutes before half time, but the ball through the middle of the defence was inches too far in front of Mark Byrne and Glennon was able to claim with ease as the ball dribbled into his six yard box. Up the other end Lois Maynard tried to get his name on the scoresheet but his half-volley sailed into the stand behind the goal.
On the stroke of half time Scott McManus, marauding all afternoon, found space out towards Stack’s right hand side, and his shot was well-covered by Andy Yiadom and out for a corner.
Town’s first half was as good as any produced away from home and were fully-deserving of their three-goal lead as the whistle went.
Barnet introduced youngster Sam Muggleton at the break, but Neil Aspin elected not to change a side that had looked dangerous going forward and solid at the back.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first as Matt Glennon was forced into a save by Mark Byrne who had plenty of time out on the left.
Six minutes later it was four, as Lois Maynard drilled the ball into the far corner after a Roberts head down following a Marshall corner. The goal was the first in front of the 284 fans in that end that had made the trip south.
Lee Gregory was almost on hand to get his second of the game after beating the offside trap, but for once he fluffed his lines while one-on-one and the ball dribbled out for a harmless goal kick. Minutes later a quick Lowe throw to Pearson released Lee Gregory, but his delicate chip just drifted over the bar.
It could have been a fifth Town but for a strong Graham Stack twice in succession. First, Scott Spencer almost muscled his way through the back four, and somehow the ball almost squirmed into the goal, but Stack stretched out a hand to tip wide. From the resulting corner, Marc Roberts stooped to power a header goalwards, but again the veteran keeper turned it away. He then denied Roberts from another corner, the centre-half not to have had a hat-trick.
Town played with style and panache at 4-0 and the travelling fans were in good voice throughout. The result has the Shaymen firmly in the play-off places, and could potentially rule the Bees out of the running for a top five place. They’ve now won seven of their last eight, four straight away, and kept a clean sheet in six. The Wembley dream is alive and kicking!
Barnet FC team: Stack, Yiadom, Johnson, Weston, Harper (Muggleton 45), Byrne, Hyde, Nurse, Stephens, Dymond (Marsh-Brown 25), Gjokaj.
Subs: Saville, Crawford, Vilhete.
FC Halifax team: Glennon, Bolton, McManus, Lowe, Roberts, C Smith, Pearson (Crowther 82), Maynard, Marshall (Wilson 70), Spencer (A Smith 70), Gregory.
Subs: Senior, McReady.
Goals: Spencer (5, 32), Gregory (23), Maynard (52)
Attendance: 1683 (284 away)
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