FC Halifax Town got back to winning ways in pre-season with a hard-fought win at Altrincham.
The last time Town came to Moss Lane, both sides’ promotion hopes were still in the balance, but the additional quality of Town’s summer shopping in preparation for life in the Conference Premier eventually told on a fine afternoon in Cheshire.
James Walshaw made it six games without success against his former team after his summer switch from Guiseley, but his new side gave the Shaymen a good workout before the visitors eventually took control of the game thanks to goals from Josh Wilson and Lee Gregory.
Matt Glennon returned to the starting line-up after recovering from an elbow infection, one of several changes from the 5-3 defeat to Bradford Park Avenue that also included a new centre-back partnership made up of two trialists, neither of whom was Matt Clarke who left the club earlier this week.
Glennon’s elbow was certainly tested early on as Altrincham made a bright start, with Matt Doughty’s cross nearly dropping into the net but for the keeper’s tip over the bar.
Jake Moult’s low drive whistled just wide moments later before Glennon tipped his shot onto the post, while ex-Town man James Walshaw saw a shot from an acute angle drop just the wrong side of the far post.
Town weren’t quite as productive at the other end but came close when Adam Smith’s curling shot from just outside the box needed a good save by Adam reid, while Paul Marshall also saw an effort go close from inside the area.
Matt Pearson quickly got into the swing of another all-action display, producing a timely interception to bring Carl Rogers’ run into the box to a halt as well as making his presence felt on several other thousand blades of grass too.
Smith was looking lively down the right and got a clear sight of goal just before the break when his miscued shot fell back to him six yards out but he fired over the bar.
Kevin Holsgrove almost made an immediate impact after coming on at the interval but headed Gregory’s cross wide at the far post after Sean Williams’ shot was parried by Reid.
Glennon continued to be given a thorough work-out when he tipped Gianluca Havern’s low shot from outside the box behind for a corner.
The chances continued to come thick and fast at the start of the second-half as Wilson’s free-kick curled just the wrong side of the post.
Pearson’s half-time switch to right-back did nothing to diminish his influence on proceedings as he struck a ferocius drive after Holsgrove’s cross that Reid did well to save.
Wilson then went close again with a well struck effort from just shy of 30 yards that flew just over as Town looked a more potent prospect following their half-time reshuffle.
Alex Johnson was next to force Reid into action seconds after coming on when his shot on the turn eight yards out was stopped by the keeper.
But Reid was powerless to stop Wilson’s second free-kick, which was placed tantalisingly out of his reach from 25 yards out to finally break the deadlock.
Town then edged out of reach when Gregory stroked the ball in from the spot after a hand-ball in the box from his attempted cross.
Altrincham: Reid, Densmore, Doughty, Rogers, Havern, Williams, Lawrie, Moult, Walshaw, Reeves, Clee.
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 3
Halifax: Glennon, Toulson (Maynard 46), McManus, Pearson, A trialist 1, A trialist 2, Smith (Johnson 67), Briggs (Williams 46), Gregory, Gardner (Wilson 46), Marshall (Holsgrove 46). Subs not used: Senior, Ainge, Roberts.
Scorers: Wilson (77), Gregory (81)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 12
Man of the match: Matt Pearson