Chester 0-3 FC Halifax Town

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Scott Boden’s first goal for the club helped FC Halifax Town move back to the top of the table as they beat Chester 3-0.

Richard Peniket scored his third goal in two games and Matt Pearson got his first of the season as Town produced their best performance of the campaign so far to maintain their 100 per cent start.

Neil Aspin’s side are the only team in the division to have won all of their first four games, and did so impressively as they outfought and out-thought a limited Chester side.

Town well and truly banished the memories of their extraordinary defeat here last season with a display bursting with commitment and creativity throughout.

Is this really the same club that couldn’t win on the road for so long last season?

Peniket, making his first Town start along with Jamie Jackson, should have got the visitors off to a dream start but blazed over when unmarked 10 yards out.

Then on almost exactly the same spot six months ago that hesitancy cost Town, the same was nearly true of Chester as Paul Marshall nicked the ball from Matty Brown before Freddy Hall saved his shot.

It was almost as if that defeat in February had happened yesterday as the Shaymen came racing out of the blocks.

By comparison, Chester looked ponderous and rattled by Halifax’s 100mph start; the away supporters certainly responded in fine voice.

Chester couldn’t cope with the movement of Matt Pearson, who dovetailed nicely with Lois Maynard as Town bossed the initial exchanges.

Hall was kept busy by Williams’ turn and shot and Jackson’s strike across goal that was tipped round the post at full stretch.

Chester looked a threat the few times they got forward but were too often given the runaround by Town’s excellent midfield trio.

One of them, Pearson, swung in a low cross which was allowed to reach Peniket by a slack Chester defence, before the Town winger fired into the far corner beyond Hall’s reach.

The only surprise was it had taken 35 minutes.

Chester weren’t any better after the goal than before it, as time and again their hesitancy on the ball allowed Town to snap at their heels and win possession.

The best they could muster was John Rooney’s fierce drive over the bar.

That came shortly before an exquisite through ball by Marshall that Rooney’s brother would have been proud of released Boden, whose shot was deflected wide by a last-ditch tackle.

There was still time for Pearson to fire over from Peniket’s clever knock-down before the end of a first-half Town probably wished would never end and that Chester had barely started.

It was a similar story after the interval, with Chester’s route one approach to Chris Iwelumo bearing no fruit, while the omnipresence of the Town midfield closed off any alternative routes.

The introduction of Jamie Menagh, scorer of ‘that’ goal last season, injected some energy into the home side’s attack but his enthusiasm didn’t rub off on many of his team-mates.

Chester’s defence was again statuesque as Roberts flighted in a cross and Boden executed a deft flick header beyond Hall.

The Town striker said his search for a first Halifax goal had been driving him crazy, but his header send the travelling supporters wild as they rejoiced at Halifax’s return to the summit of the Conference.

By the time Pearson raced clear to cap a tremendous performance with his goal, it was reminiscent of the club’s 4-0 trouncing of Barnet as Town brushed aside their hosts in style.

Chester: Hall, Kay, Brown, Charnock, G Roberts (Heneghan 46), James, Mahon (Menagh 54), Rooney, Winn (Hobson 77), Iwelumo, McConville. Subs not used: Worsnop, Blake.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, M Roberts, Williams, McManus, Maynard, Pearson, Marshall, Peniket (Dyer 80), Jackson (Schofield 62), Boden. Subs not used: Senior, Ainge, K Roberts.

Scorers: Peniket (35), Boden (70), Pearson (84)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 11

Corners: 8

Attendance: 2,501

Town man of the match: Matt Pearson