Kendal Town 2 FC Halifax Town 4
Jamie Vardy bagged his second hat trick in five days as Town eventually overcame a spirited Kendal side in Cumbria.
The livewire striker revelled in a central role after the break, enabling the Shaymen to honour the memory of Trevor Storton by taking another giant stride towards the title.
The players warmed up in ‘Trevor Rest in Peace’ T-shirts and everyone inside the stadium observed a minute’s silence for Town’s late assistant manager.
And the call from the sidelines was to put on a show that Storton would have been proud of.
They did in the end, and the players deserve enormous credit for that given the difficult week they have had - but it took time coming
On an emotional afternoon for Neil Aspin’s side it was Kendal who threatened to break the deadlock after eight minutes when a Jonathan Hedge throw out struck Simon Garner on the heel.
The ball rebounded into the path of Ciaran Donnelly who crossed for Mark Jackson whose header beat Hedge and rebounded back off the bar.
Danny Williams got away soon after and his cross was only prevented from reaching Ashley Dunn by the faintest of touches from the alert Danny Lowe.
Having survived, the Shaymen hit the front after 16 minute when home keeper David Newnes was unable to hold onto a thunderous shot from Vardy.
Lowe was quickest to react and he kept his cool to blast home the rebound from 10 yards.
Kendal responded by forcing a couple of saves from Hedge, Gary McEvatt knocking the ball down for Jackson who was denied before the same player got clear and Hedge saved with his legs.
In between, Aaron Hardy found Lee Gregory, but his cross from the right was too high for Holland waiting in the middle.
But Kendal levelled just before the half hour after Hedge had been deceived by the wind and conceded a corner from which Gregory was judged to have fouled McEvatt.
Kieran Walmsley held his nerve after having to re-spot the ball after the wide blew it towards goal and fired home.
A minute later McEvatt had Hedge scrambling with an effort from distance and Donnelly’s right footed effort from the left flashed across the Town goal and wide.
The Shaymen showed signs of life before the break with Gregory appealing for a penalty after he had been brought down by Rory Winters and when Holland chested down a Garner free kick he was only denied by a low save from Newnes.
Those signs of life were turned into a lead six minutes after the break when Holland turned the ball wide on the right for Gregory.
He bided his time before curling a cross into the area and Vardy arrived late to head home from close range.
Town’s second goal sparked a flurry of chances for them to kill off the game.
Steve Woods, making his full debut, found Vardy whose first touch was good but his second sent the ball high over the bar.
Woods and Holland them combined to create an opening for Lowe whose effort from wide on the left was well saved by the keeper
The chances continued to come with Hardy crossing from the right and Garner nodding down for Holland who was denied at close range by Newnes.
Holland’s 64th-minute cross field pass picked out Gregory wide on the right and he controlled well before crossing for Tom Baker whose first time shot flew just wide.
When Holland found Garner his deep cross found Vardy who headed wide and Gregory latched onto a Garner pass and raced into the area only to be denied a shooting chance by Newnes and Winters.
Hedge had saved well from Danny Williams and a Walmsley free kick went straight into the Town keeper’s arms, but he was beaten for a second time with 12 minutes remaining.
Kendal were lucky as McEvatt got away with a clear handball as he controlled and Carl Osman took full advantage to curl home from the edge of the box.
It was time for that man Vardy to step up to the plate for the second time inside a week.
The impressive Holland showed good strength to hold onto the ball in the 80th minute before passing through for Vardy to run onto and smash home.
And six minutes later he completed his hat-trick, although there was a touch of good fortune in the build up.
Vardy found Scott Hogan and went for the return pass which struck the back of a defender. That sent it straight into Vardy’s path and he made no mistake to make the game safe.
Vardy may have had a fourth in the dying minutes when he initially got away from Danny Wisdom, but the Kendal defender did well to get back and tackle before the Town man could get his shot away.