FC Halifax Town continued a strong start at the summit to their Vanarama National League North campaign with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Tamworth at the Shay this afternoon. Richard Peniket put in a man of the match display, notching two goals against his former employers, with Daniel Hone and Jordan Sinnott also getting in on the act.
The Shaymen arrived this afternoon as league leaders, picking up eight points from a possible 12 in a busy August schedule. Billy Heath’s side also had an unbeaten run to maintain, having picked up a respectable draw at Stockport County in their previous outing on Tuesday night. Tamworth turned up at The Shay with mixed fortunes, their own unbeaten start ended emphatically by a 3-0 reverse at Boston United in midweek.
Billy Heath made two changes from Tuesday’s 1-1 tie at Stockport, with Nathan Hotte and the suspended Cliff Moyo replaced by the powerful Daniel Hone and the lively Matt Kosylo. Jake Hibbs was moved into the right-back slot to cover for Moyo with Kosylo on the left-hand side.
The match started in a steady manner, with both sides getting a feel for the ball on a moist pitch following a burst of wet weather prior to kick-off.
The Shaymen worked through the midfield in the opening twenty minutes, dominating possession and preventing the visitors from gathering any early momentum.
The patience paid off massively for the hosts as they opened the scoring after 25 minutes. Kevin Roberts’ pinpoint cross from the right flank was met by Hone – fresh into the starting XI – who made no mistake with a looping header out of the reach of James Belshaw.
The Shaymen stayed switched on at the back to protect the lead, with Lambs winger Greg Mills denied a clear shot in the area by a brilliantly timed challenge by Scott Garner.
This proved to be somewhat of a catalyst for a second hammer blow from Billy Heath’s side.
Some good wide play down the left-hand side was then spread into the area, with the league’s leading scorer Tom Denton winning a flick-on towards Peniket, the Welshman nodding into the bottom corner from eight yards.
Having doubled the lead, the Shaymen moved through the gears ruthlessly. A clinical first half was rounded off with aplomb – another Denton flick found its way to Jordan Sinnott, who after picking the ball up 25 yards out then drove a powerful low shot into the bottom-right corner. Town’s home support was in full voice, thoroughly enjoying the merciless performance from their boys in the first 45 minutes.
The second half began with Tamworth attempting to kick on and climb a huge mountain, and Halifax soaking up any pressure that came their way by defending well from the front. Having sapped the visitors’ momentum, Billy Heath’s side then extinguished any hopes of a comeback from the away side 13 minutes into the second period, as a pinball-style scramble ensued in the Tamworth area. An initial parry from Belshaw could only fall to Peniket, whose presence was enough to divert the ball over the line for his second of the match.
Half-chances for the visitors included a header just wide from Joe Clarke, and a good diving save from Steven Drench to deny a near-post drive from Danny Newton.
The tempo dropped slightly with the home side in full control, Denton however with a couple of chances to add a fifth and get himself on the scoresheet. Most notably for the big striker was a bullet header from substitute Connor Hughes’ cross, denied terrifically by Belshaw.
A rapturous home crowd went home satisfied with an excellent win, remaining top of the league, with the Shaymen next facing a trip to AFC Fylde next Saturday.
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