FC Halifax Town 5 Altrincham 2

Gareth Seddon scored a hat-trick in just three minutes as Townprogressed to the FA Trophy second round

Gareth Seddon scored a hat-trick in just three minutes as Townprogressed to the FA Trophy second round

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Gareth Seddon scored a hat-trick in just four minutes to help FC Halifax Town into the second round of the FA Trophy after a comfortable win over 10-man Altrincham.

Seddon’s flurry of goals at the end of the first half put Town in the driving seat after they had initially fallen behind to Damien Reeves early tap in.

Lee Gregory levelled for Town before Seddon’s excellent finishes put Town 4-1 up at the break.

Altrincham were down to ten men early in the second half after Danny Hall was given a straight red for bringing down Gregory, and Dale Johnson made Town’s advantage tell by sliding home a fifth.

Nicky Clee’s wonderful free-kick pulled one back for the visitors, but they were unable to launch any kind of comeback against a dominant Town side, who were unable to add to their tally despite creating a host of second half chances.

Needham, Johnson, Gregory and Jason St Juste, a late addition after Scott McManus injured an ankle in the warm-up, all came in for Town as Neil Aspin stuck with the 4-3-3 system which saw them beat Droylsden 4-1 last weekend.

Town made a disastrous start to the game and fell behind inside five minutes when Matt Glennon parried Simon Richman’s shot into the path of Damien Reeves, who tapped his side ahead.

Altrincham could have been two up a minute later but Reeves failed to connect with Nicky Clee’s low cross, and Glennon had to be brave to dive in at Reeves feet after another jinking Clee run.

The Shaymen had started the game well, despite being behind, and the should have levelled when Gregory raced through down the right only to scuff his shot wide of the far post before Seddon failed to connect with a low Johnson cross from inside the six yard box.

James Lawrie then failed to connect with another cross from Clee, who proved a handful for Phil Bolland down the Altrincham left, before Liam Hogan saw his driven after cleared off the line by former Shayman Matt Doughty after a Jason St Juste corner found him unmarked.

After Seddon saw his long range effort gathered by Stuart Coburn in the Altrincham goal at the second attempt, Bolland was put out of his misery when he was replaced by the returning Ryan Toulson.

Gregory was hauled down by Scott Leather for a free-kick 22 yards out which Seddon drilled into the wall just before the half hour - and just after it Town were level.

Toulson’s long ball picked out Gregory’s perfectly timed run, and the striker showed sublime control to take the ball in his stride before driving towards goal and calmly lifting the ball past Coburn at his near post.

Minutes later Seddon saw his shot blocked after a Worthington cut back picked him out and a typically adventurous run and shot by Hogan was also blocked as Town looked to turn the screw.

And the second goal came just before the break when Seddon hooked the ball home after Danny Lowe’s initial header from St Juste’s corner sent the ball goalwards.

He bagged his second two minutes later when he fired Gregory’s knock down in left footed, and completed his hat-trick, scored in just three minutes, when he beat three men before firing high into the net to put Town 4-1 up at the break and they left the field to rapturous applause.

Altrincham, rattled by the Seddon show at the end of the first half, were down to ten men just three minutes into the second half after Danny Hall pulled down Gregory after he was released by Hogan.

Town capitalised almost immediately, Johnson sliding home from close range after some excellent work by St Juste down the left.

Danny Lowe was fortunate to only recieve a yellow after bringing down Reeves as the striker spun in on goal - only for Nicky Clee to whip a wonderful left footed effort into the top right hand corner from the resulting free-kick for 5-2.

St Juste was giving Scott Leather a torrid time down the left and saw a host of crosses evade a blue shirt as Town looked for a sixth.

Needham saw a shot cleared off the line, Hogan’s shot was tipped on to the bar and Jarrett saw a spectacular 35 yard effort tipped over as Town had to settle for five.

The Shaymen return to league action with a trip to Guiseley on Tuesday night.

Seddon was replaced to a standing ovation with 15 minutes to go to be replaced by Dan Gardner, whose first involvement was to run at the Altrincham defence and win a free-kick which he blasted low into the wall.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Bolland (Toulson, 20 mins), St Juste, Hogan, Jarrett, Lowe, Worthington (Worsley, 62 mins), Needham, Johnson, Gregory, Seddon (Gardner, 75 mins). Unused subs: Senior, Kelly.

Altrincham: Coburn, Leather, Doughty, Richman, Havern, Hall, Densmore, Moult, Lawrie (Watmore, 54 mins), Reeves (Brooke, 66 mins), Clee (Lacey, 66 mins). Unused subs: Mitchley, Reid.

Attendance: 885

HT: 4-1

Goals: Reeves (5) Gregory (30) Seddon (42, 45, 45+1) Johnson (51) Clee (53)

Red card: Hall (48)