Gareth Seddon’s third minute header is enough to earn FC Halifax Town a 1-0 win at Workington.
The Shaymen’s lightning quick start was too hot for the hosts to handle, and they struggled to match a Halifax side in impressive form as they kept their fourth cleawn sheet in a row.
Easter is a time of rest for most people, but the two games in three days over the holiday period is just the start for Town ahead of their hectic end to the season.
Halifax deservedly ran out winners in the first of their double-header, with a West Yorkshire derby against Bradford Park Avenue to follow on Monday.
Neil Aspin made two changes from the team that started at Colwyn, with Jon Worthington and Alex Titchiner replacing Sean Williams and Lee Gregory, and the Town boss will probably need to chop and change even more over the next few weeks, with the club set to play on almost every day ending in y next month.
If Town start as well in their remaining games as they did here, the month ahead won’t seem quite so manic as the visitors grabbed the initiative after just three minutes, perhaps with their manager’s mantra of the importance of the first goal still ringing in their ears.
Scott McManus’ inch-perfect cross found Seddon bang in front of goal, and the striker was left completely unmarked to nod past the outstretched arm of Aaran Taylor.
That could have been just the start of a stunning opening ten minutes for Town, but Titchiner wasted a good chance after being played through by Seddon, who then had a stinging low volley brilliantly saved by the Workington keeper from eight yards out.
But Town’s incisiveness in attack was matched by their nervousness at the back, with most of Workingtoin’s chances comning from uncertainty from the Town defence rather than their own creativity.
Matt Glennon hesitated coming to meet a long through ball, but Jacob Hazel failed to take advantage of the keeper’s stranded position and weak his shot was cleared from danger.
The odd moment of anxiety also spread to the back four, with a short back pass here and a moment of indecision there doing enough to keep the home side’s spirits up and draw them back into the game.
Gareth Arnison, who scored Workington’s goal in their 5-1 drubbing at the Shay earlier this season, was their main threat, and got a sight of goal from a cross field ball, but his shot from a narrow angle sailed over the angle of post and bar.
A jinking run and cross also caused a moment of panic in the Town box, but Worthington was well placed to clear the cut back.
Lee Gregory, who had replaced Seddon after he failed to shake off a dead leg sustained in a rather hefty challenge, then came within inches of doubling Town’s lead seconds before half-time after Lowe had sent him away on a counter-attack, but his shot went just over with Taylor beaten.
Matt Pearson continued his fine form at the heart of the Town defence as the game wore on, making his return to Rochdale after Easter Monday even more of a disappointment as well as big shoes to fill for his replacement.
His growing influence on proceedings helped keep Workington at bay as the hosts struggled to replicate the pressure they had built up before the interval.
Dan Gardner’s last act before being substituted was a thunderous drive that shaved the bar on its way over, coming as agonisingly close as debutant Danny Glover did moments later with a well hit left-footed shot from just outside the box that arrowed just wide of the far corner.
Workington huffed and puffed late on, but didn’t really come close to snatching what would have been an undeserved equaliser as Town’s defence put any earlier nerves behind them and stood strong to get their frenetic finale to the campaign off with a win.
Workington: Taylor, Cowperthwaite (Wordsworth 77), Rowntree, Johnson, Andrews, Greenhalgh, Boyd (McLuckie 46), Hewson, Wright, Arnison, Hazel. Subs not used: Wright, Smith.
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 4
Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Pearson, Needham, Lowe, Worsley, Worthington, Titchiner (Glover 46), Gardner, Seddon (Gregory 38). Subs not used: Senior, Bolton, St Juste.
Scorers: Seddon (3)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 9
Man of the match: Matt Pearson