FC Halifax Town 1-0 Aldershot: Allen winner seals fourth straight victory for Shaymen
Jamie Allen's late goal made it four wins on the bounce for FC Halifax Town as they beat Aldershot 1-0 at The Shay.
Just like Saturday's narrow win against Solihull, this was hard-fought, requiring Town to dig deep and find a way to win.
But just like on Saturday, they did.
It's now back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season for Town, but more impresively, 16 points from their last possible 18.
No Danny Williams or Jack Senior necessitated a switch to four at the back, with Tom Bradbury the only left-footed defensive option remaining.
And it was up to Tahvon Campbell to help fill Jake Hyde's boots up top, which he almost did after just three minutes when his shot struck the bar after Billy Chadwick had skewed the ball wide from close range moments earlier.
That Town forced four corners in the first 11 minutes was an indication of their early dominance - making up for lost time after kick-off was delayed due to long tailbacks on the M62 - but they failed to turn that into a lead, with Chadwick also hitting the bar with a swerving effort from the edge of the box.
Aldershot grew into the game after a slow start, with Mo Bettamer and Toby Edser both bringing saves from Sam Johnson as the contest evened out.
Hyde was notable by his absence as the Aldershot defence were able to deal with high balls far easier than they might have against him.
An opener looked less likely as the half went on, with Halifax ending the half with a 3-4-1-2 system, tacit acceptance that The Shaymen were no longer dominating play and what threat they had posed early on had since been stifled into thin air by a hard working and well organised Shots side.
Campbell was as lively as anyone for the hosts, showing some nice touches. Elsewhere, Allen was closely marked, Chadwick was feeding off scraps and Jack Earing was unable to influence the match in the manner we've become accustomed to.
It didn't help that Town seemed to lose their composure as the half went on, going from back-to-front a little too often with no joy.
The Shaymen still needed to be alert at the back against Aldershot's sharp forwards, but Niall Maher was again strong and aggressive at the heart of the defence, which restricted the visitors to few openings.
Town retained their 3-4-1-2 in the second-half and were purposeful in it, although Bettamer had a good chance to put Aldershot ahead after a nice move from right to left, but Johnson reacted well to keep it out.
The Town keeper then tipped Josh Rees' shot wide from distance.
Halifax responded through Chadwick, who showed terrific tenacity to win the ball before marauding down the right, but his fizzed cross was just out of Campbell's reach.
The contest was finely balanced now, with little to separate the sides.
Kian Spence's first touch on his debut was a glancing header wide from Earing's cross, but Aldershot were sniffing a goal too, competing well and not afraid to push players forward, with Jermaine Anderson catching the eye thanks to some driving runs from midfield.
Campbell then went off injured, forcing Allen to move up-front and Pete Wild to curse his luck.
Gaps started to appear as both teams began to tire; it was now about who wanted it more, who was prepared to dig the deepest for a possible winner.
Minutes after Aldershot's celebrations were cut short by the offside flag, a superb through ball played in Allen, and he swept the ball across goal into the far corner from the right of the box, and another precious three points were in the bag.
Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Maher, Bradbury, King, Woods, Green, Earing, Allen, Campbell (Tear 74), Chadwick (Spence 65). Subs not used: Renshaw, Clarke, Benn.
Scorer: Allen (83)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 10
Aldershot: Hall, Colombie, Lyons-Foster, Phillips, Anderson, Edser, Whittingham, Rees, Nouble, Bettamer (Panayiotou 57), Miller (Kandi 69). Subs not used: Sendles-White, Wylie, Ogie.
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 5
Referee: Karl Evans
Town manager: Toss up between Niall Maher, Neill Byrne and Tom Bradbury, who were both excellent, but Maher pips it for leading the line with superb determination and concentration.