Welling 0-1 FC Halifax Town

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Lee Gregory’s second-half penalty was enough to earn FC Halifax Town their fourth win in five matches and maintain their play-off challenge.

The Town captain was again the difference between the two sides after his hat-trick in the reverse fixture, and notched his 26th goal in 30 games to make it back-to-back away wins for the first time this season.

Town were forced to dig in at times, but produced a superb rearguard effort to prevent Welling scoring at home for only the third time all season, with Gregory bagging his 10th goal in eight outings.

The play-offs are looking an increasingly realistic prospect with each passing week, and if Town can keep up this kind of form on the road, a top five finish is in sight.

An unchanged Town side almost made the worst possible start when Marc Roberts’ header back to Matt Glennon let in the exotically named Oluwatobi Sho-Silva, but the striker looped his header over the stranded keeper, sparing Roberts’ blushes.

That didn’t herald the start of a dominant opening from the hosts, although they did create two clear chances within a minute after a quarter of an hour, with Toby Ajala and captain Lee Clarke both denied by Glennon when they might have done better.

But Town didn’t buckle under that brief spell of pressure and responded with Roberts’ header wide from Ryan Crowther’s cross and a Paul Marshall free-kick straight at Jamie Turner.

But Neil Aspin was unhappy advantage wasn’t given after a foul on Lee Gregory, with Turner off his line and the ball at Matt Pearson’s feet.

Gregory looked a threat whenever he and the ball got together in and around the box, and the Town skipper did extremely well to fashion a chance out of nothing, largely due to sheer brute force, but prodded the ball wide inside the box.

Roberts then looped a header off the bar from Adam Smith’s corner as the visitors began to grow in confidence after successfully nullifying Welling’s threat going forward.

Gregory hardly had a plethora of chances to feed on, but there were even fewer scraps for Welling’s forwards, with the hosts’ early burst of enthusiasm steadily wilting in the afternoon sunshine.

Most of the attempted service into Sho-Silva or Ajala, both of whom were looking to break their respective duck’s for the home side, was delivered from at least 30 yards out, making it comfortable for Roberts and Simon Ainge to repeatedly head clear.

The longer the opening half went on, the stronger Town looked, although chances came in bursts too sporadic for the first 45 minutes to live too long in the memory.

But the game came to life just after the restart when Gregory again made the most of a half chance when he bullied his way onto the ball and dribbled round Turner before being hauled down by Blaine Hudson with the goal gaping.

Referee Dean Treleaven had little option but to dismiss the Welling defender, with Gregory sending Turner the wrong way from the spot.

But Welling produced a stirring response immediately afterwards, with Harry Beautyman’s shot saved by Glennon before Joe Healy’s low drive was deflected clear.

Alfie Mawson’s free-kick then brought out another fine save from the Town keeper as the 10-men had Halifax on the ropes.

Crowther then spurned a clear chance to double Town’s lead when he rolled the ball across goal and wide after breaking in behind the Welling defence.

The hosts’ threat again subsided after a busy burst of pressure, and Town assumed control of the contest, with Ainge and Roberts producing commanding displays at the heart of the Town defence to repel any high balls in their vicinity.

Matt Pearson also came into his own as the Shaymen edged closer to victory as the midfielder zig-zagged over the Park View surface in search of the ball.

The only blemish on the performance was the lack of a second goal to kill off the home side, although Scott McManus came close with a long-range strike that whistled over the bar.

Substitute Marlon Jackson then saw his shot across goal saved by Turner before Gregory agonisingly failed to poke in the rebound at the far post.

Welling: Turner, Fazakerley, McLaren (Cornick 13), Hudson, Mawson, Healy, Ajala, Clarke, Beautyman, Wakefield, Sho-Silva. Subs not used: Butcher, Day, Karagiannis.

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 7

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, Ainge, Roberts, McManus, A Smith (Jackson 66), Pearson (C Smith 90), Marshall, Maynard, Crowther, Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, Lowe, McReady.

Scorer: Gregory (51)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 6

Attendance: 645

Town man of the match: Simon Ainge