FC Halifax Town 2-0 King's Lynn: Shaymen go joint-top of National League with hard-fought win

FC Halifax Town went joint-top of the National League after they edged past a spirited King's Lynn 2-0 at The Shay.

By Tom Scargill
Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 9:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 9:46 pm
FC Halifax Town v King's Lynn
FC Halifax Town v King's Lynn

Second-half goals from Matty Warburton and substitute Jack Vale earned Town back-to-back wins, but this was not the easy victory many had anticipated.

It required patience from Town and the supporters, but after a struggle in the first-half, like a determined child with an extremely well-wrapped Christmas present, Halifax got there in the end.

King's Lynn adopted a 5-4-1 system off the ball - suppose Town should expect that regularly now - and conceded most of the territory and possession to the Shaymen.

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Probably only Pontefract had shown more of a soak-up-the-pressure attitude than King's Lynn out of possession at The Shay, although the visitors were well organised, got numbers forward on the ball, and had more efforts than Town in the first-half.

It had been a subdued half by Halifax, exemplified by a rare sloppy pass from Kian Spence inside his own half, leading to a shot from range which Sam Johnson saved and spilled.

Others would join Spence in appearing like the last thing they wanted to do with the ball was keep it.

Warburton volleyed a dipping shot wide, but that was as good as it got for The Shaymen during an underwhelming first 45.

King's Lynn were the more cohesive, controlled side, looking after the ball far better.

Munashe Sundire should have capped an encouraging first half-an-hour from the visitors with a goal after jinking past Tyrell Warren, but Johnson kept out his low shot.

That should have been a wake-up call to Town, who had been ragged and disjointed, being outworked and outplayed by the away side.

Their new boss Tommy Widdrington had guided them to their first win in nine on Saturday after eight straight defeats; they certainly weren't playing like a team second-from-bottom.

Lynn were playing with the kind of assurance and composure that The Shaymen have exhibited so often this season but which had deserted them here.

Town's attack had been smothered by the visitors, leaving them no room to operate, although the hosts didn't help themselves by repeatedly, infuriatingly losing possession under little or no pressure.

Former Halifax striker Gold Omotayo had been a decent presence up-front for Lynn, bringing others into play and getting better support at times than Billy Waters, who was being crowded out.

King's Lynn were posing a problem, and Town needed to come up with a solution.

It was immediately better from Halifax after the interval, with a shot across goal blocked by King's Lynn, and just more urgency and aggression from the hosts.

Waters finally brought a save from Paul Jones when Warburton's free-kick fell to him in the box, before Elliot Newby dragged a shot wide from Spence's lay-off.

Momentum was building.

Waters' shuffled away from a challenge before his shot was saved unconvincingly by Jones, with the Town fans responding to an improving performance.

Town had been the dominant side since the restart, with King's Lynn breaking out from their starting positions less frequently, and not rushing over goal kicks or throw-ins either.

However, a couple of headers on target by Omotayo were a reminder that they still carried a threat.

Town's better showing since half-time was rewarded though when Warburton scored his second in as many games, latching onto Kieran Green's lovely through ball and blasting low across goal.

The visitors hadn't taken their chances, but Halifax took theirs.

More sloppiness moments after led to a King's Lynn corner though, from which a bullet header was sent straight at Johnson.

Waters then had a shot deflected just wide in what was now a much more watchable contest.

Town's lead was a slender one though, as evidenced by the top-drawer save required by Johnson to keep out Malachi Linton's first time shot from a right-wing cross.

Now it was The Shaymen playing on the break, nervously trying to preserve their advantage.

Vale nearly sealed it moments before his goal, when his effort was cleared off the line, but then when a throw-in went back to the King's Lynn keeper, Vale beat him to it and his touch saw the ball roll over the line.

Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Green, Spence (Summerfield 64), Newby (Vale 64), Warburton, Slew, Waters (Woods 76). Subs not used: Benn, Gilmour.

Scorers: Warburton (63), Vale (90)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 7

King's Lynn: P Jones, A Jones, Bird, Bowry, Clunan, Coleman, McGavin, Sundire (Charles 90), Barrett (Gyasi 70), Linton (Rasberry 81), Omotayo. Subs not used: Barrows, Kurran-Browne.

Shots on target: 7

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 5

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 1,604 (32 away)

Town man of the match: Jack Senior was the most impressive outfield player for Town, but Sam Johnson gets the nod for some very good saves to keep out the visitors.