FC Halifax Town suffered their first home defeat of the season as they lost 3-1 to Altrincham at the Shay.
Such is the nature of the Conference that a team who had yet to win away did exactly that to inflict Town’s first home defeat for 10 months.
In truth, Halifax fans have been spoilt during the club’s ascent through the leagues by a consistently outstanding home record.
Once in a while, a result like last season’s 4-3 loss to Woking pops up to throw a spanner in the works.
Like that result, not many Town fans will have seen this one coming either as Altrincham became only the second team to score three goals at the Shay since that defeat last December.
Town were about as poor as they have been since that Woking defeat and never really got going in a performance well below the hosts’ capabilities.
Marc Roberts retained the captain’s armband despite Lois Maynard returning to the side in place of Simon Ainge.
Despite their cameos at Guiseley on Wednesday, Neil Aspin and Lee Nogan weren’t named among the substitutes.
The bandaged Roberts, it’s hard to imagine him without it now, set-up a couple of early chances from which Marshall fired wide and Maynard’s header was comfortably saved.
But Town’s profligacy in possession meant they couldn’t turn their early possession into a clear cut chance.
Altrincham didn’t exactly park the bus but certainly weren’t in a hurry to move it and were happy to sit back and let the hosts try to create an opening.
As usual in these scenarios, Adam Smith looked the best outlet, with a stretching Scott Boden heading his cross wide at the far post.
Then out of nothing came that clear cut chance when Pearson raced on to Danny Hattersley’s flick-on but rolled his shot wide.
That looked even more of a glaring miss when Clee produced a stunning effort that crashed in off the post from 25-yards.
Surprisingly, it was his first goal since the opening day of the season. He should shoot more often.
Hattersley then hit the post with a header but the visitors, who kept their first clean sheet of the season in midweek, reached the interval with another one intact.
Damian Reeves had scored twice on both his previous visits to the Shay but had barely broken sweat in the opening half and would soon be taken off.
The Town fans were fairly unforgiving of their side’s display and made their frustrations clear as the hosts struggled to find their composure going forward and too often rushed their approach play.
Again Neil Aspin didn’t hang around in changing things as Richard Peniket replaced Maynard at the break.
But Altrincham nearly doubled their lead when Clee’s free-kick clipped the bar on its way over.
Every high ball forward from the Shaymen elicited a few groans from the East Stand, although the South Stand responded with a hearty cry of ‘Come on Shaymen’.
Already simmering frustrations at referee Richard Wigglesworth then boiled over after what looked like a foul on Hattersley wasn’t given inside the Town half.
Pearson dragged a shot wide as Halifax enjoyed a decent spell of pressure but there were still too many high balls for the Shay’s liking.
Such is the aerial ability of Hattersley that a lofted ball in his direction is a viable route to goal, but there wasn’t enough of the sharp, incisive play that had helped see off Telford so convincingly here two weeks ago.
Jamie Jackson was brought on as Town’s latest attempt to shift the bus, with the Town bench growing increasingly exasperated at the visitors’ attempts to run down the clock.
But Lawrie’s smart finish across Glennon suggested time had all but run out on Halifax’s unbeaten home start to the season.
That suggestion was confirmed soon afterwards when a slip by Marc Roberts allowed Perry to race clear and slip the ball under Glennon.
Cue an early exit from some of the home supporters.
Those that left missed Boden’s late consolation goal as he nodded in Roberts’ header back across goal.
Had that come 10 minutes earlier, Town might have salvaged something as Marc Roberts headed off the post after Kevin Roberts’ volley was tipped round the post as the hosts finally reached top gear when it was too late.
Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Williams, McManus, Smith (Jackson 72), Pearson, Maynard (Peniket 46), Marshall, Boden, Hattersley. Subs not used: Senior, Schofield, Ainge.
Scorer: Boden (88)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 8
Altrincham: Coburn, Densmore, Havern, Leather, Griffin, Lawrie, Moult, Williams (Crowther 77), Richman, Clee (Cavanagh 67), Reeves (Perry 64). Subs not used: Wilkinson, Marshall.
Scorers: Clee (34), Lawrie (78), Perry (82)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 5
Town man of the match: Kevin Roberts