FC Halifax Town 3 Oxford City 1

Dale Johnson got two as Town came from behind to win
Dale Johnson got two as Town came from behind to win

Town came from behind to beat Oxford City 3-1 in their Conference North clash at the Shay.

Town made the worst possible start when they fell behind to Chris Willmott’s close range effort on three minutes, but equalised two minutes later through Dale Johnson.

Paul Marshall’s long range effort put the Shaymen ahead just before half time and Johnson added a third mid way through the second half as Town sealed what turned out to be a comfortable victory.

Click here to view the picture gallery from today’s game - photographs by Jim Fitton

Neil Aspin made just one change from the side which drew with Bradford Park Avenue last Monday, Dale Johnson replacing Liam Needham as Jason St Juste dropped in to left back.

Town got the game off to a disastrous start and were a goal behind in the third minute, centre-back Chris Willmott firing the visitors ahead from close range after the Shaymen failed to deal with a ball into the box from the right.

But the response was almost instant - Johnson turning and firing his side level on five minutes after a long throw in from the right hand side.

After a ferocious start the tempo settled and Town began to dominate possession.

Lee Gregory thought he had put Town ahead when he wonderfully controlled a Seddon pass before rounding Warren Carter in the Oxford goal, only to see his effort cleared off the line by Andy Ballard.

A minute later and Town had two more glorious chances - Jason Jarrett seeing his back post volley saved by Carter before the keeper produced another stunning save to keep out Gareth Seddon’s rebound,

At the other end Jamie Cook, Oxford’s most lively threat in attack, tried an speculative chip over Glennon from 30 yards which went harmlessly wide.

As the first half wore on Town continued to see plenty of the ball but were lacking a cutting edge against an Oxford side happy to sit back and play on the break - and the Shaymen needed two last ditch blocks by Ryan Toulson and then Liam Hogan after a scramble in the Town area on 37 minutes to keep the scores level.

St Juste over hit a cross after a storming run down the left and fellow full back Toulson also got forward often as Town looked to stretch City at the back.

The visitors couldn’t see it through to half time though when Paul Marshall won the ball back on the half way line and drove towards the penalty area before unleashing a rasping left foot shot from 25 yards which Carter couldn’t keep out to give Town the lead at the break.

Three minutes into the second half and Marshall was trying his luck from range again, this time his free-kick from 30 yards was tipped behind by a scrambling Carter - and Glennon produced an equally smart save at the other end from an almost identical free-kick from Jack Mills ten minutes later

Just after the hour mark Carter produced a stunning save to keep out Gregory’s near post effort after a low Marshall cross, but he could do nothing to stop Town getting a third.

St Juste danced past the full back and crossed for Worsley, whose shot was again kept out by Carter, but this time he could only push the ball to Johnson who tapped in from close range for 3-1.

Jamie Rainford replaced the unusually subdued Seddon straight after the goal, and he shot over after good work down the left.

Rainford was involved again in Town’s next meaningful attack, this time Johnson failed to connect with Rainford’s clipped through ball.

Defender Phil Bolland made his debut when he replaced St Juste, who left the field to rousing applause, with Danny Lowe moving to left back for the final 15 minutes.

With ten minutes to go Gregory saw another effort blocked by an Oxford body and from the resulting corner Jarrett saw his first time volley blocked too as the Shaymen chased a fourth.

But despite further efforts Rainford and Worsley, Town didn’t add to their tally as they sealed a comfortable win.

Teams.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Toulson, St Juste (Bolland, 76 minutes), Hogan, Jarrett, Lowe, Worsley, Marshall, Johnson, Gregory, Seddon (Rainford, 63 mins). Unused subs: Senior, Worthington, Needham.

Oxford City: Carter, Pond, Learoyd, Malone, Willmott, Mills, Ballard, Issac (Skendi, 46 mins), Shariff (Bassham, 66 minutes), Cook (Barcelos, 54 mins), Stonehouse. Unused subs: Gunn.

Goals: Willmott (3), Johnson (5, 63), Marshall (45 +1).

Attendance: 1,172