Halifax Town v Frickley Athletic: Shaymen need a faster start than in midweek

It may sound a little churlish to say this after an 8-1 win, but Town will have to start better against Frickley at the Shay tomorrow than they did against Ossett Town.

The Shaymen were really sluggish in the opening 20 minutes of the game on Tuesday and, as boss Neil Aspin quite correctly pointed out post-match, had the visitors been a little sharper in front of goal his side could have been behind.

The good thing about the current Town players is that they are pretty quick learners and they are more than capable of responding to a sticky situation.

With the help of a couple of James Dean goals, they stepped up a gear and despite not having been at their best were suddenly 4-1 up at the break.

They cruised home in the second half, with Aspin able to rest Dean for 45 minutes, give Danny Holland and Richard Marshall more valuable game time and hand a debut to new defender Andrew Milne.

And with third-placed Matlock, one of the threats to Town's bid for the title, losing 2-1 at Chasetown in one of only two other games in midweek it was a good night all round.

The other game on Tuesday involved tomorrow's opponents who were beaten 4-0 at North Ferriby United.

That may not have been such a surprise given how good the Humbersiders can be on their day, but it did follow Frickley's impressive 6-3 win away at Ashton United where a former Shayman Kevin Sanasay scored a hat-trick.

Prior to that they had only been beaten 1-0 at home by Matlock and lost 3-2 at Nantwich to a goal three minutes from the end.

Like so many sides, Frickley did not play at all in December and they signed off in November with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Burscough.

But it is the two results before that match that will tell the Shaymen all they need to know about Athletic.

They forced a draw away to Worksop, considered by many to be the biggest threat to Town claiming a second successive automatic promotion, and beat Northwich Victoria 2-1.

That may have been a couple of months ago but not too much has changed in that time because of the weather and Town have already struggled against Frickley, in terms of the result at least, with the sides playing out a goalless draw in the second game of the season at the Tech5 Stadium.

It is difficult to imagine that Athletic will be able to keep the Shaymen out for another 90 minutes.