FC Halifax Town were defeated 1-0 by Southend United at Roots Hall this afternoon. The Shrimpers snatched all three points after a first-half strike from Kenny Clark.
Halifax started the game positively, and nearly went ahead inside 30 seconds through smart movement. Billy Waters received a pass by Jack Senior and then dribbled down the left-wing. As Waters got to the by-line, he crossed the ball into Matt Warburton, who had an effort deflected wide from the edge of the box.
The early pressure from Town continued when Senior sent a pass forward that Waters controlled before beating his man and threading through a ball for the run of Harvey Gilmour. The midfielder found himself on goal and therefore, hit a strong left-footed shot which Steve Arnold parried away.
Southend absorbed the Halifax threat for the opening ten minutes, but eventually pushed forward themselves to win a corner in the 12th minute. Jack Bridge took the set-piece short to Clark, who weaved into the box, beat his man, and then hit a low shot past Sam Johnson’s front post.
The Shrimpers nearly doubled their lead moments later when Leon Davies hit a cross into the Halifax box that skimmed the bar on its way out. It could be argued that the last notable chance in the first half, came when Sam Dalby hit a curler from distance, forcing Johnson to tip the ball wide.
The half time entertainment at Roots Hall saw a Southend fan win a prize after completing a challenge on the pitch. A Shrimpers victory at the break was a sign of things to come for the second half of proceedings.
Halifax were now shooting the end which the Shaymen army accommodated, and those traveling fans were given an incident to shout about moments into the new half. A Gilmour corner fell for Kieran Green inside the box, who tried to ride a challenge but was taken down with a cry of penalty shouts.
The referee, however, waved away those shouts as play continued with Waters having a shot which funnily enough struck the hand of Warburton as the attacker was midway through appealing for the penalty – with hands high in the air. This time, the ref did blow and gave the hosts a free-kick.
A Southend free-kick is also the next main talking point, and this time it was in a more attacking area for the side in navy-blue coloured kits. Dalby, 30-yards-out, had the set-piece and hit a shot that slightly sailed over Town’s goal.
The match took a slight basketball phase as some good build-up play from Halifax ended with Tyrell Warren having a shot from a distance which Arnold captured and set Southend forward.
However, just like a game between Boston Celtics and Miami Heat (NBA teams), Southend burst down the left and played the ball into a dangerous area inside the box where Dalby headed onto the bar.
Town then pushed forward to find an equaliser, which the Shaymen army thought had come when Slew laid the ball for Luke Summerfield 25 yards out, who hit a powerful shot into the side netting. There were a couple of celebrations from the traveling supporters until they realised the effort hit the wrong side of the net.
As the game came to its latter stage, it was time for Halifax to throw the kitchen sink at the hosts, and that came through a long ball forward which Waters latched onto behind the Southend defence. Sadly, his chance ended with a shot that Arnold made a fantastic save to.
The half time entertainment put a smile on a selection of Southend faces, and the full-time entertainment was a smile to every Southend fan. As the television show goes, ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, and that’s where the three points went as the Shrimpers beat the Shaymen.
Southend United: 1 Steve Arnold, 5 Shaun Hobson, 7 Jack Bridge (8 James Dunne 77), 10 Sam Dalby, 17 Joseph Gubbins, 21 Harrison Neal, 22 Kenny Clark (35 Ollie Kensdale 46) 24 Jason Demetriou ©, 27 Leon Davies, 38 Noor Husin (20 Will Atkinson 28), 39 Harry Cardwell
Subs: 11 Callum Powell, 30 Matthew Dennis
FC Halifax Town:
1 Sam Johnson, 3 Jack Senior, 4 Luke Summerfield, 5 Jesse Debrah, 8 Kieran Green, 10 Matt Warburton (27 Zak Dearnley 84) 11 Billy Waters, 20 Harvey Gilmour (14 Matty Stenson 63), 21 Tyrell Warren, 25 Jordan Slew, 31 Niall Maher © (17 Kian Spence 71)
Subs: 15 Gerry McDonagh, 16 Jamie Thomas
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis
Goals: Clark 12
Yellow Cards: Neal 70, Spence 83
Red Cards: None
Attendance 5620 (159 away)
Southend United 1 FC Halifax Town 0
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