FC Halifax Town closed the gap to third-placed Brackley to four points with a 3-0 win at Colwyn.
The Welsh side have been like Town’s shadow over the last few years, riding on the coat tails of Halifax’s ascent through to the Blue Square North.
But the two clubs are travelling on very different trajectories these days, as evidenced by Town’s superiority over a struggling Colwyn, fighting for their Conference North lives in the relegation zone.
Indeed, if this game is anything to go by, then the two teams’ presence in the same division over recent years could well end at the end of the current campaign, with the league they currently occupy seperating them both.
For The Shaymen, this win was just the tonic after the frustrations of Saturday’s goalless draw with Brackley, from which Neil Aspin made just one change, with Gareth Seddon replacing Alex Titchiner in attack.
The hosts were competitive early on, but in truth, Colwyn struggled to contain a Town side containing the kind of quality that 40-year-old player-manager Frank Sinclair must have been watching enviously as he tried to keep a lid on them.
The defence was marshalled fairly well by the former Chelsea centre-back, who got sent-off in Colwyn’s last game, a 3-1 home defeat to Altrincham, but the wilyness and work rate of Town’s midfield trio of Chris Worsley, Liam Needham and Sean Williams ensured the ball didn’t spend too long out of Sinclair’s sight.
Williams again impressed on his return to his former club, appearing to be a diamond unearthed in the rough by Neil Aspin at the ground the locals call the Bernabay.
Seddon brought an early save from Chris Sanna with a snap shot from inside the box before Halifax built up a head of steam as Lee Gregory’s dipping shot from outside the area was parried away by the keeper.
Dan Gardner, as fleet-footed as ever but a little quieter than his usual effervescent self, produced his obligatory moment of magic as he danced his way past a challenge before his shot with the outside of his right foot was tipped behind by Sanna.
The keeper also saved well from Gregory again after a close range shot by the striker from a tight angle, but was powerless to stop the Town opener that had been on the cards before it arrived after half an hour as Gregory tapped in following more fancy footwork near the byline from Gardner before his cross picked out Town’s top scorer in the middle.
Sinclair’s side offered little in return, with on-loan defender Matt Pearson again catching the eye as he dealt with any attacks that came his way by sending the ball back in the same direction it arrived in no uncertain terms; Town still haven’t conceded a goal when Pearson has been on the pitch.
Colwyn may have taken some encouragement from trailing by the solitary goal at the interval, but that was soon changed when Seddon doubled Town’s lead less than a minute after the restart when he latched on to Gardner’s perfectly weighted through ball before rounding Sanna and slotting home.
The hosts offered some temporary resistence as Matt Glennon was forced into a fine save from a long-range effort before the rebound was put wide from a narrow angle.
Sinclair was then called upon to make a goal line clearance from Gregory’s shot before Worsley then capped an excellent display of composed passing and tireless running with a spectacular third goal as he took the ball on the bounce from 30 yards out and looped it over the despairing reach of Sanna.
Colwyn: Sanna, Taylor, Lea, Sinclair, Smyth, Davey, Evans (Crowther 57), Lampkin (Payne 57), Hopley, Ellison, McLachlan. Subs not used: Meadowcroft, Byrne, Roberts.
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 2
Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Pearson, Needham, Lowe, Worsley, Williams, Gregory (Johnson 83), Gardner (Titchiner 71), Seddon, Subs not used: Senior, St Juste, Moke.
Scorers: Gregory (31), Seddon (46), Worsley (73)
Shots on target: 9
Shots off target: 6
Man of the match: Chris Worsley