Dean bags double to secure win

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Gloucester City 1

Halifax Town 3

James Dean signed off before suspension with a double as Town warned up for their big FA Cup clash against Charlton with a Blue Square bet North win at Whaddon Road.

The big frontman fired Town into a 17th minute lead and restored their advantage with an 83rd minute effort.

Danny Holland made the game safe with two minutes remaining as the Shaymen climbed to 10th in the table.

It was a game in which Town’s players might have been expected to have half an eye - or more - on the televised game with the Addicks.

But there was little evidence of that as they gave a thoroughly professional display to record the rarest of beasts this season - back to back league wins.

The home side had a good early chance when a cross from the right was met by Adam Mann who headed over the bar.

And Liam Hogan twice got important touches to deny strikers as the home side pushed forward.

Town’s response was good play from Dean to find Jamie Rainford wide on the left, but his cross was cleared.

And moments later the ball was played diagonally for Scott McManus, who struck it first time but saw it flash inches wide.

The Shaymen were starting to get a foothold in the game and Ryan Toulson’s cross was headed goalwards before James Marwood showed his pace on the left before crossing.

Town broke the deadlock after 17 minutes after Tom Baker had picked out Dean with a pass to the left.

The striker played in Marwood before taking a return pass, turning and firing across the keeper and into the corner of the net.

There was a scare three minutes later when a shot from distance took a wicked deflection, wrong footed Simon Eastwood and rolled inches wide.

Town broke from the corner with Toulson finding Rainford, whose cross aiming for Dean was hooked clear.

It was an open game and Charlie Reece fired in a 25-yard shot that did not miss Eastwood’s goal by much.

Gloucester had a great chance to level with 11 minutes of the first half remaining when Tom Hamblin met a corner from the right six yards out but headed straight into Eastwood’s arms.

And when Eastwood sliced an attempted clearance up into the air it gave Darren Edwards an opportunity to control and cross, but the ball flew just too far in front of Will Morford for him to capitalise.

Town had ambitious shouts for a penalty when a Toulson cross struck a defender on the arm and there was a moment of excitement when a Danny Lowe ball found Dean’s head but he was unable to trouble home keeper Lewis Carey.

Marwood played in Rainford, who cut the ball back for Baker but his shot was charged down and went behind for a corner.

The home side tried to walk the ball into the net in stoppage time, Reece, Mann and finally Morford all having a touch on the edge of the six yard box before the ball ended up in Eastwood’s arms.

Town had a chance early in the second half when Toulson fed the ball down the right for Dean, who crossed, but Baker’s shot from 15 yards was blocked.

Moments later Baker’s pass found Rainford who cut in from the left to the edge of the area and was denied at the near post by the keeper.

The Shaymen were looking sharp and when Marwood got on the end of a perfectly-weighted pass and crossed first time, Dean missed from point blank range.

Gloucester demanded a spot kick after 52 minutes when Morford fell to the ground under pressure from McManus, but referee Sarah Garratt was unmoved.

But they got their goal two minutes later when Tyler Weir strode forward to the edge of the area before firing in a shot that defected off Hogan and into the net.

The home side almost took the lead soon after when McManus headed a cross clear to Stephen Davies, whose well struck effort from the edge of the area flashed wide.

Holland joined the action with 25 minutes remaining and found McManus with his first touch, but the defender fired well off target.

Gloucester goalscorer Weir almost bagged a second from distance, Eastwood getting down well to his right to push the ball away.

Morford tumbled in the area for a second time trying to win a penalty, sparking a coming together of players from both sides and a card for the Gloucester player for a push on Lowe rather than the dive.

The Shaymen regained the lead with seven minutes remaining when Holland fired a magnificent cross field pass to fellow sub Jason St Juste whose first time pull back gave Dean the easiest of chances to tap in.

Gloucester forced a couple of corners but were unable to make anything of them and the Shaymen made the game safe moments later.

Dean flicked on a long ball downfield and Holland touched it past Matt Coupe before outpacing the defenderand slamming his shot into the bottom corner.