FC Halifax Town 7-0 Scarborough

The Shay Stadium east stand.
The Shay Stadium east stand.
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FC Halifax Town eased into their pre-season schedule with a 7-0 win over Scarborough at the Shay.

Town fans were given a taste of their team’s new look as Marc Roberts and Kevin Holsgrove both scored on their first appearances as well as Lee Gregory and a brace from Alex Johnson.

Another welcome sight for the home supporters would have been the green, green grass of the Shay pitch, which played host to a one-sided friendly which may not have taught Neil Aspin too much about his side but should serve as a useful first stepping stone on the way to full match fitness.

New signings Roberts, Simon Ainge, Keith Briggs and Adam Smith were handed first starts, while Josh Wilson, Matt Pearson and Kevin Holsgrove began on the bench.

Those in from the off began brightly, particularly Dan Gardner playing off Lee Gregory in a role he may be deployed in more often than not this season.

All of Town’s early attacks passed through him, with Gardner almost playing through Gregory on more than one occasion but for some outstretched legs in the Scarborough defence.

Town assumed control of the game from the off and it was no surprise when Scott McManus’ cross was swept home by Alex Johnson, one of the most popular names on the retained list this summer.

Johnson then nearly scored again moments later from another McManus cross but his shot drifted over the bar.

Scarborough showed some neat touches here and there, encouraged by their small band of supporters, but Matt Glennon remained largely a spectator.

Briggs made the most eye-catchong start of the new faces with some neat touches and measured passing from central midfield, while Smith looked lively when he saw the ball.

His first foray forward could have ended in a shot at goal but he delayed his pass to McManus and the chance went, before Smith then tested Jason White with a 20-yard strike which was turned behind.

Gregory then struck the bar with a curling effort from inside the box before Johnson’s miscued his shot which dribbled past White and crawled over the line.

Gregory then got in on the act with a precise finish across White from an acute angle after the keeper’s poor clearance.

Gardner played in Gregory once more before the break only for White to block the shot before Smith’s chip was cleared off the line.

From the resulting corner, Roberts rose to head in, something which may become a familiar sight during the season.

Johnson then came within a whisker of his hat-trick but his low shot rolled just wide of the far post as a re-jigged Town side picked up where the pre-jigged one left off.

The tempo decreased somewhat as Town were given a good if trouble-free first workout, but their goal threat remained as potent as before when Holsgrove latched onto Jason St Juste’s long through ball before calmly rolling the ball past White.

Holsgrove then showed he’d learned a trick or two since his last spell with Town as he lashed in the best of the lot so far with a well-hit strike that whistled past White from 25 yards out.

The score then began to enter cricket scoreboard territory and you could almost hear the sound of bat hitting ball as Roberts headed in from another corner for Town’s seventh.

But Town declared at seven and took their foot off the gas late on to register the easiest victory they’ll probably record all season.

Halifax: Glennon, Ainge (Kerr 46), McManus (St Juste 46), Williams, Roberts, Lowe (Knowles 46), Smith (Moke 46), Briggs (Pearson 46), A Johnson (Wysocki 65), Gardner (Holsgrove 46), Gregory (Wilson 46). Subs not used: Senior.

Scorers: Johnson (13, 26), Gregory (31), Roberts (45, 64), Holsgrove (59, 62)

Shots on target: 15

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 3

Scarborough: White, Arvandale, Ridley, Fisher, Hackworthn, Davison, Collinson, Bolder, Clarkson, Bradshaw, Radcliffe. Subs: Blott, Bennett, Brown, Greening, Ryan.

Shots on target: 0

Shots off target: 1

Corners: 0

Attendance: 695

Man of the match: Alex Johnson