FC Halifax Town 1-0 Dagenham and Redbridge

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town

FC Halifax Town maintained their perfect start to the season as Liam McAlinden's winner saw them beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0 at The Shay.

The result keeps Town at the summit of the National League, and was just about merited on the balance of play, although Dagenham certainly had their moments.

Pete Wild's first week of the season has been a triumph - three wins, seven goals and two clean sheets.

The feel-good factor at The Shay is back.

Danny WIlliams' hamstring injury meant he was replaced by McAlinden, with Jamie Allen's two impressive substitute appearances earning him a start on the opposite flank in place of Jeff King.

Sloppy early passes by Matty Brown and Niall Maher from the back summed up a lackadaisical opening by Halifax, as Dagenham settled far quicker, passing confidently and progressively.

Left-winger Joan Luque and attacking midfielder Angelo Balanta were both early influences for the away side, showing good control and skill in tight areas.

It took until the 13th minute for Town to produce a flowing move as Cameron King spread the ball wide to Jerome Binnom-Williams, and then McAlinden's cross was cleared.

But three minutes later, Town's newest recruit buried the ball past keeper Elliott Justham after Cameron King's shot with the outside of his right foot was parried into his path, and he drove the ball across goal from an angle.

Town's seventh goal of the season, from their seventh different scorer.

That knocked Dagenham back a bit, while giving Town and the home crowd a lift.

Allen had a shot blocked and Tobi Sho-Silva fired weakly at Justham from 25 yards; possession was fairly even, but when Halifax had it in Dagenham's half, they looked inventive and incisive.

Michael Duckworth was sharp at right-back, Maher and Josh Staunton provided an effective screen in midfield and Cameron King again revelled in his number 10 role, looking bright, creative and threatening.

His left-foot shot was easily saved from 20 yards, but Pete Wild's demand for more shots was being met whenever his side was in range.

Dagenham, like Hartlepool had been, were patient in their build-up play, but rarely were Brown and Nathan Clarke troubled by an attack lacking any punch.

Dagenham should have been punished for sloppy play at the back when Sho-Silva intercepted a loose pass by Bagasan Graham a few minutes before the interval and laid it off to King, but Justham kicked away his low shot.

Town weren't immune from sloppiness either, with Staunton twice conceding possession cheaply, and James Dobson nearly taking advantage by shooting just over.

Luque then forced a comfortable first save of the afternoon from Sam Johnson moments later with a curling shot from 20 yards cutting in from the left.

Dagenham were too slow after the restart, not showing enough urgency or intent to get back into the game, as Town looked far more dangerous.

Jerome Binnom-Williams gifted the visitors the ball on halfway and after breaking to the edge of the Town box, the chance was wasted with a lazy pass.

Cameron King remained the central cog for Town, the go-to player for any Halifax attack.

Binnom-Williams was then too easily beaten by Dobson, and from his cross, Joe Quigley should have done far better than let the ball slip under his foot unmarked at the far post.

Maher had a shot saved by Justham from 20 yards, but Dagenham had gradually cranked up the pressure on Town as the second-half went on, causing a few jitters to spread around the Shay crowd.

Sho-Silva just failed to meet a terrific low cross by Allen from the right flank before substitute Liam Nolan fired over the angle of post and bar seconds later.

A goal then would have calmed the nerves.

Town became increasingly reliant on Clarke and Brown as they retreated deeper and Dagenham chased the game.

Sub Jeff King brought a good save from Justham with five minutes to go against the run of play, but Town held out.

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Binnom-Williams, Maher (Nolan 69), Staunton, Allen, C King (Earing 71), McAlinden (J King 62), Sho-Silva. Subs not used: Appleyard, Odelusi.

Scorer: McAlinden (16)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 6

Dagenham: Justham, Croll, Clark, Robinson, Brundle, Eletheriou (McQueen 68), Dobson (Grant 61), Graham, Balanta, Luque (Wright 61), Quigley. Subs not used: Phipps, Wood.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 9

Attendance: 1,895 (74 away)

Referee: Rebecca Welch

Town man of the match: Michael Duckworth