FC Halifax Town 2-0 Torquay United: Shaymen make it five wins in a row

FC Halifax Town made it five league wins in a row for the first time since August 2014 as they beat Torquay United 2-0 at The Shay.

By Tom Scargill
Saturday, 19th March 2022, 4:56 pm
Halifax v Torquay
Halifax v Torquay

Second-half goals from Billy Waters and substitute Gerry McDonagh saw Town over the line as their magnificent form continues.

But this was far from as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, with Halifax having to dig deep after a wretched first-half.

Torquay should have led at the interval, but were punished for not converting their superiority into a lead as Town rallied after the break to take all three points.

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Torquay were the better side in the opening half, quicker to loose balls and looked hungrier than Town, whose passing was sloppy amid a disjointed start.

Alex Wynter had brought a save from Sam Johnson after six minutes, and Danny Wright prodded just wide midway through the opening 45.

There were other efforts off target or blocked from the visitors, who repeatedly pushed Halifax back and forced mistakes, which The Shaymen seemed only too happy to provide.

Town were second best, looking ponderous and pensive, losing the ball far too often and the struggling to get it back.

Torquay were composed, controlled and causing problems.

The Gulls were stopping Halifax playing, pressing effectively and cutting out the supply to their attacking players, out Halifaxing Halifax.

Town's best passing success rate was presumably when it was played back to Johnson, because it was invariably lost when it was played forward.

Jack Senior chased back at full pelt to regain possession inside the Halifax box, only to give it away a few seconds later.

Luke Summerfield tried to head the ball back to Sam Johnson only for it to fall to Connor Lemonheigh-Evans inside the Town box, but nothing came of it.

Wide men Jordan Slew and Jamie Thomas, in for injury victim Jamie Allen, struggled to make an impression, Waters and Matty Warburton were uncharacteristically peripheral, badly lacking service, and Martin Woods and Summerfield, who went off injured before the break, were outplayed in midfield by Armani Little and Stephen Duke-McKenna for The Gulls.

Town's first shot of the game only arrived shortly before half-time when Slew sent a shot over the bar from around 30 yards, a sign of how little Town had threatened.

Torquay had posed plenty of questions in the opening half, Town needed to answer them in the second.

The hosts at least registered their first shot on target and their first corner soon after the restart when Thomas' shot from an angle was turned behind.

Wright hit the post for Torquay before Warburton fired off target from 20 yards. It was a more even game now though, with both defences looking vulnerable.

It had certainly been better from Town since half-time, and after Tyrell Warren forced a fine save from Shaun MacDonald with a close range header from one corner, Waters sent a low shot across goal from the left of the box from another.

Halifax had been rewarded for a more aggressive, attacking display since the interval, but Torquay must have mystified to be trailing on the balance of play.

The Gulls got into some dangerous areas, but lacked the cutting edge to make them count, while Town had been clinical.

And they were again when McDonagh produced a fine header after Niall Maher had headed Woods' free kick back across goal.

Torquay had no response to either goal, wilting badly in the spring sunshine. Town were barely recognisable from the meek, timid side of the first-half, now asserting themselves with authority.

The complexion of the game had shifted so much that Town saw it out with a relative comfort which seemed fanciful at half-time.

Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Summerfield (Spence 44), Woods, Thomas (McDonagh 68), Warburton, Slew (Dearnley 87), Waters. Subs not used: Debrah, Gilmour.

Scorers: Waters (60), McDonagh (71)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 5

Torquay: MacDonald, Wynter, Lewis, Edwards (Martin 68), Moxey, Duke-McKenna, Lapslie, Wearne (Johnson 82), Little, Lemonheigh-Evans, Wright (Holman 80). Subs not used: Halstead, Omar.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 4

Referee: Andrew Miller

Attendance: 2,192 (217 away)

Town man of the match: Niall Maher. Both centre-backs had solid games, but Maher takes it for his assist for McDonagh's goal too.