Barnet 0-4 FC Halifax Town

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A brace by Scott Spencer helped FC Halifax Town to a sensational 4-0 win at Barnet as they moved a huge step closer to a top-five finish.

On his 49th birthday, Neil Aspin was handed the perfect present by his players, whose remarkable season continued its seemingly inexorable rise.

Lois Maynard and Lee Gregory also found the net, with Gregory reaching 100 goals for the club and taking his astonishing tally for the season to 30 in just 35 games,

As it turned out, results elsewhere meant Town needed to win to retain their play-off place, which they now occupy with a two-point cushion ahead of sixth-placed Braintree.

But Halifax won in thrilling fashion against a side who were two divisions above them less than a year ago.

It’s now six clean sheets on the bounce for Halifax, who have not conceded a goal for nine-and-a-half hours.

There was a taste of the twists and turns to come before kick-off as Braintree’s surprise win at Luton lifted them above Town in the table.

Marc Roberts handed Town a huge boost when he passed a late fitness test to play, while Scott Spencer made his first Town start on the right of midfield.

And that decision was gloriously justified after six minutes when Matt Pearson’s quick free-kick released Gregory, whose shot was parried into Spencer’s path at the far post.

Barely 10 minutes in and the away end was already reverberating with cries of ‘The Town are Going Up’.

Town’s record of not conceding for eight hours had already been severely tested by then as Mark Byrne forced Matt Glennon into a fine save within the first minute.

Barely another 60 seconds later, Jake Hyde did the same as the hosts came out all guns blazing.

But Halifax’s game-plan looked to be spot on as they went close to doubling their lead when Spencer’s shot was blocked in a crowded box and Graham Stack saved smartly from Gregory’s near post prod.

Barnet were suddenly nervy in possession as the Town fans lapped up every misplaced pass and stray shot from the hosts.

Those chants soon turned to ‘We’ve Got Lee Gregory’ when the Town striker racked up a century for the Shaymen as he tapped in Chris Smith’s header across the area - and it was impossible to argue Town didn’t deserve it.

Martin Allen clearly thought so too as he brought on the highly-rated Keanu Marsh-Brown a lot earlier than he presumably planned to - quite an endorsement of just how well Town had started.

The decision to start Spencer was now becoming a master-stroke as the loanee found himself perfectly placed to turn in Scott McManus’ cross.

It was difficult to work out which set of supporters was watching on with more disbelief as the silence among the Barnet fans was almost as conspicuous as the chants from the away end.

Still Town didn’t let up as Roberts headed narrowly over from a Town corner.

There was such an urgency to Town’s play whenever they went forward, with Gregory always getting something - a free-kick, a corner, a shot - every time he got possession.

The trio of Pearson, Paul Marshall and Maynard repeatedly won and kept the ball while McManus was proving a menace down the left-flank.

Smith was more than meriting his retention in the heart of the defence as he gobbled up any high balls into the box.

Spencer’s selection also kept bearing fruit with a delightful 50-yard cross-field pass to McManus, whose shot was deflected behind.

Town played some scintillating stuff in the first-half of their Shay walkovers of Grimsby and Welling earlier in the season - but this was arguably even more impressive considering the critical importance of the game.

Byrne was again denied by Glennon seconds after the restart, possibly with Martin Allen’s team-talk still ringing in the home team’s ears.

But half-time may as well have not happened as Town continued their dominance.

McManus twice went close before Maynard emphatically lashed home from Roberts’ cushioned header.

The contrast between the sides was emphasised when Marsh-Brown turned the other way when he lost the ball to Pearson, with the Town midfielder wearing out the soles of his boots chasing the loose ball.

The Town tide just kept on coming as Graham Stack somehow kept out Roberts’ header from point-blank range.

Gregory then missed the easiest chance of lot when his attempted chip went horribly wrong when clean through.

But you could hardly blame the visitors for wanting to turn on the style, such was their complete control of the contest.

Time and again Barnet’s defence was breached by Town attacks, with Roberts probably coming closer to a hat-trick than he ever has before or may ever do again.

Town now look almost certain to finish above the Bees in the table, which in itself was a feat few if any Halifax fans would have thought possible back in August.

But in this kind of form, that will be least of Town’s achievements before the end of the season.

Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Stephens, Gjokaj, Johnson, Dymond (Marsh-Brown 26), Byrne, Harper (Muggleton 46), Weston, Nurse, Hyde. Subs not used: Saville, Crawford, Vilhete.

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 3

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, Roberts, C Smith, Lowe, McManus, Maynard, Marshall (A Smith 71), Pearson (Crowther 83), Spencer (Wilson 71), Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, McReady.

Scorer: Spencer (6, 33), Gregory (24), Maynard (53)

Shots on target: 9

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 10

Attendance: 1,683

Town man of the match: Lois Maynard