FC Halifax Town 3-1 Barrow

Actions from Halifax Town v Barrow, at the Shay
Actions from Halifax Town v Barrow, at the Shay
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Two goals in two minutes helped FC Halifax Town to their first win of the season at the seventh time of asking as they beat Barrow 3-1 at The Shay.

The sense of relief among the home supporters was almost palpable as Halifax came from 1-0 down to score three times in the last 10 minutes and finally get their season up and running.

Andy Cook had handed Barrow the lead and Town were seemingly en route to another demoralising defeat until a dramatic fightback; sound familiar Bromley fans?

For the second home game running, The Shaymen dug deep but this time recorded an overdue victory thanks to goals from Sean Tuton, CJ Hamilton and, of course, the obligatory effort from Jordan Burrow.

For a while after Cook’s goal, such a comeback looked unlikely, but just as the mumours of discontent began to be heard around The Shay, Town produced a much-needed burst of energy and dynamism to fire up their so far dormant campaign.

One of three changes for Town was the debut of Halifax-born midfielder Danny Racchi, while Connor Hughes was finally given his first start, as was Danny Hattersley.

Left-back Neil Ashton knocked Town out of last season’s FA Trophy when he scored the winner for Wrexham, and made his mark again with a booking for a foul on Hughes in the first 30 seconds.

In a fairly muted atmosphere at The Shay from the kick-off, Barrow fired an early warning when Andy Howarth hit the post from 20 yards out.

Racchi was busy in the opening stages, seeing plenty of the ball and trying to spray some passes in behind the Barrow defence.

He and Hughes, playing centrally in behind Jordan Burrow, looked lively, with the latter playing in Hattersley on the left, who fired harmlessly over.

The duo again linked up effectively when Racchi won the ball and sent Hughes away with a deft pass down the right, but his cross drifted out of play.

Town looked the more incisive and were often a final pass away from getting through on goal, although neither side, with only two wins from 12 games between them, were at their free-flowing best.

Racchi added some composure on the ball and nicely complemented the hard-working Kingsley James in the centre of midfield.

But for all Halifax’s possession and attacking intent, it was Barrow who again came closest to that crucial first goal when Andy Cook headed against the bar from close range.

Moments later, the pattern continued when Sean Tuton produced a terrific low cross after a surging run, but no-one was there for a tap-in.

At the other end, Cook won another high ball from which Jason Walker was only prevented a tap in of his own thanks to a superb last-ditch lunge by Hamza Bencherif; Barrow were having fewer attacks, but theirs were the most productive.

As half-time approached, Barrow were offering more of a threat, with Cook’s aerial presence unsettling the Town defence, who had the appearance of a back-line yet to keep a clean sheet, while you could see why the visitors had only failed to score once so far this term.

And they maintained that record when George Williams’ cross was headed in by Cook from six yards to the delight of the Barrow bench, featuring former Town striker Alex Meechan.

Walker then saw a dipping shot whistle just over as Barrow went in for the kill; Town now looked flat, and desperately in need of a spark.

Goalkeeper Joel Dixon made his first senior appearance at The Shay in Gateshead’s 2-2 draw back in March, but remained mostly untested as the hour mark came and went.

Tuton had by now moved up-front alongside Burrow in a 4-4-2, but shot off target after latching onto his strike partner’s knock down.

Town were losing their composure in their rush to equalise as Racchi’s short free-kick went straight to the visitors and prompted a counter-attack before Matt Glennon threw the ball straight out of play moments later.

The more the hosts tried to gain some momentum, the more disjointed they looked as too many passes went astray.

Meanwhile Cook jinked his way past Roberts before shooting low across goal with a second Barrow goal surely meaning game over.

That spark finally came from Tuton, who took advantage of hesitant defending from Danny Livesey to nip onto the ball and prod it over the onrushing Dixon.

The introduction of Hamilton had also pepped up the hosts and, incredibly, he put them ahead within a minute of Tuton’s equaliser after Burrow had seen a shot tipped onto the post following a superb cut-back from Josh Macdonald.

There was still time for some desperate Town defending, but the fact that Howarth’s shot inside the box hit Cook before going out for a goal-kick was a sign that it was finally going to be Halifax’s day.

It was beyond doubt when Burrow kept up his outstanding start to the season when he turned in Macdonald’s miscued shot after Tuton’s clever cut-back.

Halifax: Glennon, Roberts, Bolton, Bencherif, Hutchison, Tuton, Hattersley (Macdonald 46), James, Hughes (Hamilton 75), Burrow, Racchi (Brooks 77). Subs not used: Trennery, Hibbs.

Scorers: Tuton (83), Hamilton (84), Burrow (90)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 1

Barrow: Dixon, Williams, Livesey, Grand, Ashton, Lacey, Harvey, Van Den Broek (Symington 72), Haworth (Cosgrove 89), Cook, Walker (Grimes 67). Subs not used: Taylor, Cowperthwaite.

Scorers: Cook (54)

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 12

Corners: 7

Attendance: 1,490

Town man of the match: Danny Racchi