North Ferriby United 0
FC Halifax Town 3
TOWN moved 15 points clear at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division - and avenged a rare Shay defeat back in November - with a comprehensive win in East Yorkshire.
As away performances go, this was just about perfect from the Shaymen who scored in the first and last minutes of the opening period and cruised home after the break.
Jamie Vardy shone in a superb team effort, bagging a couple of goals and eventually forcing Ben Morley into one foul too many resulting in a second caution and an 85th minute red card.
By then the points were well and truly in the bag and news of a shock 4-1 home defeat for Worksop against Ossett Town was a further boost after the final whistle.
The Shaymen could not have got off to a better start, with the opening goal coming after just 23 seconds.
Vardy fed the ball forward on the left before racing into the area to get a glancing header onto a James Dean cross.
Ferriby responded strongly with a couple of real opportunities, Jonathan Hedge saving the first which fell to Alex Davidson and Liam Hogan blocking from Morley as he tried to capitalise on the rebound.
As it turned out, that was a rare spell, albeit small, of home pressure with Town’s defence always looking relatively comfortable.
At the other end, it should have been 2-0 after seven minutes with more progress being made down the left as Tom Baker fed Dean, but Lee Gregory could only send the big man’s cross wide of the target from six yards.
Town continued to pass the ball well with Simon Garner feeding Gregory two minutes later but Scott Phelan fired the shot wide.
Vardy and Dean combined again soon after on the left with the latter crossing towards Gregory but defender Steve Burton got there first and his goalbound header forced a fingertip save from Steve Wilson.
Vardy was buzzing about everywhere and latched onto a Baker pass midway through the first half then beat a defender only to send his shot onto the five-a-side pitch behind the ground.
Within a minute there was a rare lapse from the Town defence who left Burton unmarked at a corner, but Hedge was able to tip his header over.
Garner sent a shot the same way as Vardy’s moments earlier and a Vardy cross from the left was just too high for Dean to get a head on before Ferriby threatened again.
They took a quick free kick which released Alex Davidson in the area, but Hedge saved well and recovered to deny Chris Bolder.
Apart from a Morley effort that flew into the allotments behind Hedge’s goal and a second half free kick from Russell Fry that did not get past the defensive wall, that was it from the home side as an attacking force.
Gregory fired wide and keeper Wilson pushed out a Danny Lowe cross as the Shaymen continued to push forward.
And they got their reward seconds before the break when they doubled their advantage, Phelan playing the ball in from the right for Gregory who turned well and smashed home.
It was one-way traffic in the second half as Town grew in confidence and Ferriby tried hard to keep the scoreline respectable.
Mark Bower’s downward header from a 47th-minute free kick gave Vardy the chance to fire goalwards and Wilson had to dive full length to save.
Gregory then fired just over under pressure from Sam Denton before the Shaymen added to their tally with a stunning goal.
Dean turned the ball round the corner on the left for Vardy to run onto, but there appeared little on for him when he picked up possession.
But he took on and beat one, two and then three defenders on his way to the edge of the area before firing home low from 15 yards.
If it hadn’t been before, that was certainly game over.
Lowe fed Vardy on the left on the hour, but Dean was unable to get on the end of the cross as he slid in at the far post.
And Liam Hogan climbed well 10 yards from goal to meet a Garner corner only to see the keeper rise and tip the ball over.
Lowe, who got further forward in this game than in any other previously this season, took a return pass from Gregory and curled in a right foot shot that took a slight deflection which sent it inches wide.
Vardy’s bid to complete a hat-trick was thwarted by a 70th-minute goalline clearance after good initial work from Dean and Phelan.
And when Garner sent Gregory racing down the middle, the keeper had to be alert again to deny the Town man.
Morley’s dismissal was of little consequence in the grand scheme of things and Town had just a couple more opportunities, Dean firing wide and a free kick flashing wide off Ferriby substitute Paul Foot’s head.