Halifax Town 1 Scunthorpe United 0: Hogan stuns Iron with winner

My ball: Liam Needham, impressive throughout the game, snaps into another tackle
My ball: Liam Needham, impressive throughout the game, snaps into another tackle

Liam Hogan scored a sensational 88th minute winner to maintain Town’s 100 per cent pre-season record.

The central defender, playing at right back, picked up the ball 10 yards outside his own area and broke at pace before unleashing a 25-yarder that left United keeper Josh Lillis with no chance.

Actions from the pre-season match, Halifax Town v Scunthorpe United at the Shay'Pictured is

Actions from the pre-season match, Halifax Town v Scunthorpe United at the Shay'Pictured is

From the handling and shot blocking of Simon Eastwood at one end to the pace of Jamie Vardy at the other there was plenty to be pleased about.

And it wasn’t too shabby in between either as the Shaymen were more than a match for their League One opponents

Liam Needham was particularly impressive in central midfield while Scott McManus looked assured with the ball at his feet in the heart of the defence.

And Aaron Hardy showed his versatility as he switched seamlessly from right wing back in the first half to midfield after the break.

As expected, Town saw far less of the ball in the opening stages than they had in their first two pre-season games at Mossley and Stocksbridge.

But they were patient and almost sprung the Scunthorpe defence in the fifth minute when Vardy latched onto Michael Collins’ mis-placed header and raced into the area, only to be denied by the legs of keeper Josh Lillis.

And when Nicky Gray pounced on another error from the visitors he was extremely unlucky to see his low shot rebound back off the foot of the post.

Confidence was high and Lillis was forced to concede the first corner of the game after eight minutes, Liam Hogan heading wide from Tom Baker’s delivery.

The visitors strung a series of passes together after that, all outside the Town box, but the move ended with a frustrated-looking swipe at the ball from Sam Togwell that rolled harmlessly wide

At the other end, the Shaymen continued to pose a threat and when Needham won the ball back, Danny Holland almost played Vardy through, as did Liam Hogan from deep moments later.

McManus did well to dispossess Eddie Nolan inside the Town box, timing his tackle to perfection.

And the same player had Scunthorpe’s second shot of the game in the 24th minute, the ball going out for a throw in.

Eastwood’s first meaningful action came soon after as he went down at the feet of Chris Dagnell, who had been put through by Jordan Robertson.

Town responded positively with Needham winning the ball yet again and finding Danny Lowe, who fed it to Vardy.

He released Hardy on the right and Vardy stepped over his cross allowing Lowe to smash an effort across goal and narrowly wide.

Town had to be switched on at the back as Collins showed with a 25-yarder that skimmed across the turf and just wide of the post.

And they almost allowed Dagnell in after Robertson had been left free on the edge of the area, but the striker’s shot was comfortably saved by Eastwood.

The new Town stopper really earned his corn with three minutes of the first half remaining as he saved first from Jimmy Ryan and then twice from Dagnell in the space of 10 seconds after the United pair had squirmed free on the edge of the area.

And when Dagnell pulled away at the far post to get on the end of an Andy Hughes cross, he could only put the ball on the roof of the Town net.

Vardy almost created an opening for Holland with trickery and pace on the left, but his cross was just too deep for his teammate.

Anderson, Garner and Scott Hogan replaced David Haggerty, Baker and Gray at the break, but Town continued to look good.

Vardy took a return pass from Needham and crossed low for Holland, whose lay off allowed Scott Hogan to shoot, but his effort was blocked.

From a Garner corner moments later Holland rose well to head down, but Lillis was well positioned to gather the bouncing ball.

Town created a third chance in four minutes when Vardy got free on the left and crossed, but Holland, under pressure from a defender, could only head wide.

And when Scott Hogan was brought down on his way to the edge of the area, Danny Lowe curled in a free kick that Lillis held on to.

It was impressive stuff from the Shaymen.

Vardy took a return pass from Scott Hogan but crossed too far in front of the substitute to make it count.

And the same duo exchanged headers soon after as the Shaymen opened up the visitors’ defence yet again.

It took United until the 70th minute to win their first corner, which was excellently defended by Liam Hogan at the far post under pressure from Matt Godden.

Play was soon back at he other end, though, with Jack Dorney breaking well from midfield before picking out Garner whose curling shot was well saved.

And Dorney broke again moments later before passing square to Needham on the edge of the area, but the midfielder sent his effort over the bar.

United had the ball in the net after 77 minutes, but the linesman spotted that they’d had to push a Town man out of the way to create the chance.

Then, after the visitors had wasted a free kick, Garner’s long pass found Vardy who cut inside and forced the save of the game from Lillis with a fiercely struck shot.

Hardy sent Scott Hogan racing away with six minutes remaining, but the final shot did not curl enough to trouble the far post.

There was a scare for the Shaymen four minutes from the end when Mark Duffy cut in from the left and thumped a shot against Eastwood’s post.

But Town got what they deserved with two minutes remaining when Liam Hogan raced from deep inside his own half to within 25 yards of the United goal and smashed home the winning goal off the underside of a static Lillis’s crossbar.

Halifax Town: Eastwood, Hardy, Lowe, L Hogan, Haggerty, McManus, Vardy, Baker, Gray, Holland, Needham. Subs: Senior, Anderson, Dorney, S Hogan, Garner.

Scunthorpe United: Lillis, Nolan, Hughes, Reid, Nelson, Togwell, Ryan, Collins, Dagnell, Robertson, Green. Subs: Wright, Slocombe, Canavan, Raynes, Brogan, Godden, Grant, Duffy, Thompson.

Attendance: 857

Referee: Andy Madeley