FC Halifax Town overcame play-off rivals Salisbury City 5-1 at The Shay to keep their top five ambitions alive in the Skrill Conference Premier. Goals from Lois Maynard and Josh Wilson accompanied another Lee Gregory hat-trick to move The Shaymen up to seventh placed in the table.
After the final whistle Gregory and Adam Smith were in a buoyant mood, with the latter stating his delight at the manner of the victory on the night: “Yeah I’m over the moon, it’s a good day for us to get back on winning ways and it’s nice to get five goals and get back to the standard we know we can play at.”
As for the hat-trick hero, after opening his account on three minutes latching onto Scott McManus’ inch perfect ball, the 25-year-old prodded home the rebound from Ryan Crowther’s effort before netting a penalty when he was being brought down in the box. With five goals in three games now Gregory is three clear of Luton’s Andre Gray in top scorer’s chart in the division and says that it is a target he has to look forward at and something he is also keen to draw his manager’s attention to: “Yeah I think so, can you say that a bit louder so the gaffer can hear? I’m the same as every striker in this league so we’ll just have to see at the end of the season.”
To the naked eye his second strike may have looked to have taken a touch off the sprawling defender on the line before finding the net, but the team captain has no doubt that it is his goal: “Of course I’m claiming it. I got the last touch so it’s my goal. It could come down to the last one at the end of the season so it’s mine”. As for his team-mates Smith laughs as he confirms that there isn’t anyone in the dressing room that’s going to try and deny him his second hat-trick of the campaign: “Oh no we have got to give him that definitely”.
There was a feeling that three points against The Whites were crucial and without them then the play-offs may feel just out of reach for Neil Aspin’s side. However their first win of 2014 brings hope that with a good run of form and a better return on their travels, then maybe it can be attained. The former Lincoln City winger knows the importance though of not getting carried away with one result: “Yeah we’re going to take it one game at a time and concentrate in getting points on the board and think ahead to the next game against Chester”. As for Gregory he is aware of where improvements need to be made for these aMBitions to become reality: “We just need to get our away record better, then maybe we can get into the play-offs”.
The emphatic fashion in which Town dispatched of Salisbury was exactly what was needed after the weekend’s disappointing performance at Lincoln City, and Smith was glad to draw a line under the defeat at Sincil Bank with the response in front of their own fans: “When you’ve had a bad result on the Saturday it’s nice to play on the Tuesday and get it out your system so it’s fortunate we had a game tonight.”
With a nine day break now ahead of FC Halifax Town’s televised fixture with Chester FC there is chance for the squad to rest up ahead of the clash with their league rivals from last season. Gregory is looking forward to the extra time for preparation and is quietly optimistic about his team’s chances at the Deva Stadium, but doesn’t want to make any promises: “Hopefully! You know what we’re like away we don’t like to say we’re going to get a victory but we’ll see. We’ve got time off now so we go out and have a drink as well”.
After Saturday’s loss the mood amongst the team wasn’t one of positivity but The Shaymen’s prized asset says that unsurprisingly there was a much better atmosphere after the night’s encounter, which is what was needed: “Definitely tonight there’s a better mood, there wasn’t after Saturday but tonight the home dressing room was a lot better.”
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