Gainsborough Trinity 3 FC Halifax Town 0

The Shaymen travelled to play-off rivals Gainsborough Trinity
The Shaymen travelled to play-off rivals Gainsborough Trinity
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An out of sorts FC Halifax Town got the New Year off to the worst possible start as Gainsborough Trinity got revenge for their Boxing Day defeat at the Shay with a comprehensive win.

Three second half goals in just over 15 minutes from Craig Nelthorpe, Terry Hawkridge and Darryn Stamp proved the difference on a day when Town looked unusually short of creativity and indecisive at the back.

Nelthorpe’s 30 yarder deflected in off Liam Hogan to give Trinity a somewhat fortunate lead after what had been a fairly even first half.

But Town never recovered from it, with Jason Jarrett conceding a penalty which Terry Hawkridge converted before former Town striker Darryn Stamp’s back post volley made it three.

The scoreline didn’t flatter Trinity, who hit the bar twice as well as the post - while at the other end Town didn’t force ‘keeper Jan Budtz into a meaningful save all game.

With no game next Saturday, Neil Aspin will have to wait until Tuesday 8 January before they can get what was their heaviest defeat of the season out of their system.

The Town boss made two changes from the side which beat Trinity 3-1 a week ago; Chris Worsley dropping out for Phil Bolland who went in alongside Liam Hogan and Danny Lowe to make a three man defence, while Alex Johnson replaced Lee Gregory up front for the only other change.

The game started well, with Johnson unlucky to see his one-two with Seddon cut out before a Ryan Toulson earned free-kick was cleared by Trinity at the back post.

Despite their good start Town almost fell behind on eight minutes when Terry Hawkridge was given too much time to take aim from 20 yards - his left foot shot cannoning behind off the cross bar with Matt Glennon rooted.

Michael Leary then tried his luck from range but skewed wide as the hosts began to put more pressure on the Shaymen.

But Town hit back with a succession of shots - Johnson and Jon Worthington seeing shots blocked by defenders before Seddon dragged an effort wide and Johnson this time fired over, though they could have been punished at the over end when Stamp failed to control a long ball after a misjudgement by Bolland allowed the ball to reach him.

Stamp was involved in Trinity’s next chance too, heading against the outside of the post from a Hawksridge corner as the Shaymen got away with some poor marking.

In what was proving an end to end game, Town then had the next chance after a lovely passage of play saw Worthington release Toulson down the right, the full back’s cross agonisingly close to the sliding Seddon who couldn’t connect - and immediately Trinity responded with Bradley Barraclough heading narrowly wide.

The final chance of an engaging first half came when Scott McManus low cross just evaded Johnson as the striker stretched at the near post, but he couldn’t get a touch as the sides went in level.

It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken after the break - Craig Nelthorpe striding though midfield before letting fly from 30 yards only to see his shot take a huge deflection off Liam Hogan and leave Glennon wrong footed.

Aspin gave it less than ten minutes before sending on the creative cavalry - Dan Gardner and Gregory being introduced in a double switch with half an hour to go as Town switched to 4-3-3.

But five minutes later and Trinity were two up.

Barraclough showed superb close control to wriggle past McManus on the by-line before his route to goal was blocked by a clumsy Jarrett challenge, with Hawkridge making no mistake from the spot.

And Town’s misery was added to just over a minute later when a long ball from the right picked out the unmarked Stamp, who rifled a volley past Glennon for 3-0

The Shaymen were reeling, and after Gregory saw his shot blocked away, Stamp missed a wonderful chance for his second when Hogan blocked his shot onto the bar and behind after Lowe had been caught in possession midway through Town’s half.

With the game effectively won, Trinity sat back in possession as Town looked to find a consolation - but it never came, with Gardner’s shot, deflected behind after a powerful run, the closest they came.

Teams:

Gainsborough: Budtz, Roma, Wilde, Waterfall, Hone, Leary, Nelthorpe, Wilson, Barraclough (Yates, 90 mins), Stamp (Knowles, 89 mins), Hawkridge (Connor, 88 mins). Unusued: Yates, Williams, D’Laryea.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Hogan, Jarrett (Worsley, 81 mins), Lowe, Worthington, Bolland (Gardner, 59 mins), Needham, Johnson (Gregory, 59 mins), Seddon. Unused: Senior, Marshall.

Attendance: 906

Goals: Nelthorpe (51) Hawkridge (64 pen) Stamp (65)

HT: 0-0