Halifax Town registered their second away league win of the season in some style, punishing Hyde with five smartly-taken goals that consign the Tigers ever closer to the drop. A hat-trick from Lee Gregory, including his 23rd league goal of the season, and two brilliant efforts from Ryan Crowther and Paul Marshall in turn secured all three points for Neil Aspin’s travelling side.
The first half kicked off with an unchanged-Shaymen side playing from left to right on an overcast, fresh Saturday afternoon in their all-white away kit, hopeful of adding to their away league wins total of one, and from the off looked like they’d earmarked this to be their day.
On 5, ex-Hyde winger Ryan Crowther had a shot from 25 yards that was always travelling wide of the goal and ended up trickling out of play wide on the left hand side of the goal.
However, it wasn’t long before the Shaymen had their goal. And what a goal!
Adam Smith’s corner from the right was cleared out for a corner on the left, which in turn was headed away as far as Crowther, who thumped the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards past the keeper’s outstretched hand.
Aside for a couple of bookings, one apiece for Kelvin Lomax and James Bolton, the next action came in the 23rd minute, where Marc Roberts had to cover a through ball that split the defence, sliding in smartly to dispossess Danny Carlton when he was about to pull the trigger.
Up the other end, Adam Smith, who started the game brightly and full of intent skipped inside the flat-footed Lomax, but before he could get his cross into the middle lost his balance and toppled over, resulting in a goal kick.
As before, though, it was only a matter of time before Town would score, and this time it came courtesy of top scorer Lee Gregory.
Adam Smith was set to race clear in the right channel before Alex Brown made a tackle deserving of the yellow he received, before James Bolton floated the ball towards the back post, where Marc Roberts rose highest of all, setting up Gregory to bundle in from close range in front of the majority of the travelling Shaymen.
Matt Glennon’s first involvement of note was to escape further punishment after he was adjudged to have handled outside his box, with referee Wayne Barratt electing to award only a free-kick on the Hyde left. Brizell took it right footed up and over the wall, putting it seemingly in the only part of the goal Glennon couldn’t reach. However, the veteran stopper was quick to get across to his right and tip it wide for a corner.
From that point until half time it was all Halifax, and if it wasn’t for keeper Kettings it could have been four before half time. The 21-year old denied Crowther a second after he had a shot from 19 yards, and Smith his fourth of the campaign from 6 yards.
At half time neither side could complain about the scoreline, with Hyde never really at the races for the majority of the half, and Town two goals better than their hosts.
The second half started as the first had ended, with Town on top, and Smith found Crowther in the box, with the latter’s header being cleared off the line after just 71 seconds of action. Gregory, sniffing his second, was almost in behind the defence, but Kettings was again sharply off his line to collect.
However, Paul Marshall made it three from the edge of the box under no pressure on 50.The midfielder netted his second of the season, curling a delightfully-weighted effort into the top left hand corner past a helpless Kettings, with his team-mates obviously delighted that the provider turned scorer again.
Hyde pulled one back on 56, with skipper Brown blasting into the top corner after Simon Ainge slipped under pressure from Jordan Clark, who fed his captain with plenty of time in the box and he finished comprehensively.
Five minutes later, the cushion was restored, as that man Marshall collected possession 30 yards from goal, before looking up and slipping a ball through the middle of the defence, releasing an onside Gregory who took a couple of touches out to his left, committed the keeper to the floor before poking home with his left foot, setting up a potential perfect hat-trick with 61 minutes played.
Gregory was hungry for his 3rd having two rare long-range efforts. The first was saved well after it was destined for the top corner, and the second having cut in from the left and firing just wide of the right-hand post.
John McReady was put into the action, replacing Ryan Crowther, and his direct running started to cause problems before Gregory made it five and sealed his hat-trick with a driven effort into the far corner, again past the keeper’s outstretched hand eight minutes from time.
Town were value for their win, and consensus on press row was that they were fully-deserving of the win and the four-goal cushion.
Hyde: Kettings; Brizell, Ashworth, McQuade, Haining, Blakeman; Hughes (Kirby, 70), Brown ©, Lomax (Kiwanda, 70), Clark; Carlton. Subs: Thornton, Fitzgerald, Pollard.
Bookings: Lomax, Brown.
GOALS: Brown (56).
Halifax: Glennon; Bolton, Ainge, Roberts, McManus; Pearson (Smith C, 67), Maynard; Smith A (Jackson, 59), Marshall, Crowther (McReady, 78); Gregory ©. Subs not used: Senior, Lowe.
GOALS: Crowther (9), Gregory (27, 60, 82), Marshall (50).
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist