James Bolton and Richard Peniket scored as FC Halifax Town cruised to victory in their penultimate pre-season outing with a 2-1 win at Mossley
Town have just one game left to iron out any wrinkles before the long trip to Dover but looked a fairly well-oiled machine here without ever really coming under too much pressure.
It’s now six wins out of seven friendlies for the Shaymen, a ratio which should be continued at Buxton on Saturday to complete a pre-season programme that could hardly have gone much better for Neil Aspin.
It was only four years ago that Town and Mossley were in the same league, with the sloping pitch and tiny main stand at Seel Park serving as a reminder of just how far Halifax have come since that first promotion.
Halifax are undoubtedly Mossley’s star attraction in pre-season, even though a few players were rested only 24 hours after Town’s behind-closed-doors draw with Middlesbrough under 21s.
That gave a rare opportunity for the likes of Dominic Marie and Jake Hibbs to impress, while Josh Wilson also started after missing the last four friendlies with a knee injury as Town kicked downhill in the first-half.
They should have been ahead within the first few minutes but Adam Smith squandered a great chance from six yards, firing straight at Liam Higginbotham.
Bolton then rose highest to nod in from Smith’s corner as Town started to turn the screw after a fairly even start.
Most of the away side’s attacks came through Smith who, on the evidence of pre-season, may have a bit to prove after being only a intermittent starter.
Mossley lacked the thrust in their attacks that the likes of Smith and Peniket offered for Town, with Danny Schofield also impressing in central midfield; bursting forward at one point before firing just over.
No doubt Hibbs and Marie will have benefited from playing alongside the experienced midfielder but the two youngsters, not short on enthusiasm or effort, still look a little short of first-team football and may well be loaned out once the season proper starts.
By then, Town’s set-piece routines should be down to a fine art with the Shaymen racking up the corners as half-time approached and threatening to score from pretty much every one.
Steve Williams headed just wide from an excellent Smith delivery, while another almost crept straight in but for Higginbotham’s reflexes.
The obligatory half-time reshuffle saw Paul Marshall slot in at left-back, and almost immediately go chest-to-chest with Mossley skipper Mike Fish after a crunching tackle.
Even physio Jon Worthington got a second-half run-out, while Peniket was switched to the left-flank but latched on to Schofield’s cute through ball down the centre before smashing the ball across Higginbotham.
The winger then set-up Wilson with a lovely cross from the left but the former Guiseley striker side-footed over.
The tempo had certainly slowed since the restart, although Mossley were rightly aggrieved a potential route back into the game was closed off when Mike Fish was adjudged to have kicked the ball out of Phil Senior’s hands before firing into the net.
Substitute Will Chappell then latched on to Marshall’s through ball but Higginbotham reacted well to save.
Mossley kept battling away though, contesting any available 50-50 with relish and deserved their late consolation when Tom Murray showed some neat footwork to cut inside before finishing low across the previously redundant Senior.
Mossley: Higginbotham, McDonnell, Vinten, Dean, Granit, Weston, Blair, Warburton, Foster, Fish, Carroll Subs: McGrath, Bennett, Gough, Matthew, Keogh, Murray, Devlin, Travaglini, Barrow
Scorer: Tom Murray (87)
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 3
Halifax: Senior, Bolton (Bradley 46), McManus (Worthington 46), Roberts, Williams, HIbbs, Smith (Chappell 63), Peniket, Marie (Marshall 46), Schofield (Hillhouse 76), Wilson. Subs not used: Glennon.
Scorer: Bolton (17), Peniket (51)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 7
Town man of the match: Danny Schofield