Jordan Preston’s goal on the stroke of half-time sealed FC Halifax Town’s fifth win from their first seven games as they beat Gateshead 1-0 at The Shay.
Forty-eight hours after that gut-wrenching defeat at Boreham Wood, Town bounced back with a deserved win that blended a first-half of quality and a second-half of resolve and determination.
Former Gateshead man Preston was Town’s only change from Saturday, replacing Jonathan Edwards, and came back to haunt his old side here.
Town were the superior side from the start, creating a couple of good early chances, as Ben Tomlinson headed Joe Skarz’s cross wide, and Dayle Southwell sent a shot crashing towards goal that Aynsley Pears kept out.
That happened again soon afterwards, requiring Pears to make an even better save from Southwell’s belting 25-yard half volley.
Halifax had some good movement and interplay from their front four of Preston, Tomlinson, Southwell and Matty Kosylo, and were dangerous when they rotated from their starting positions.
In comparison, Gateshead looked static and lacked intensity and tempo. The Shaymen were quicker to the ball and quicker with it.
It wasn’t until 10 minutes before half-time that Gateshead woke from their slumber, with former Halifax forward Scott Boden seeing his tame shot parried away by Sam Johnson.
But on the verge of half-time, Tom White was punished for a sloppy pass to Kosylo on the halfway line, as the Town winger burst forward and found Preston to his left, who produced a calm low finish across goal.
Usually it’s former Town players returning to haunt them, not the other way around.
That was the sixth time Halifax had scored first in seven games so far, and the fifth time they’d scored the opener in the first-half, four of which have come in the five minutes before the interval.
But after the sting in the tale on Saturday, Jamie Fullarton will surely have stressed the importance of preserving their lead.
Gateshead improved after the break, with Jack Hunter bring an albeit comfortable save from Johnson amidst some more urgent and purposeful play.
There was a definite shift in momentum as Town lost that composure and control of the first-half, and their lead became increasingly slender as the contest went on.
Preston and substitute Jonathan Edwards had efforts at goal, but the run of play was largely Gateshead’s, although the visitors failed to create a gilt-edged chance for the increase in their possession.
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Lenighan, Berrett, Tomlinson, Preston, Kosylo, Southwell (Edwards 71). Subs not used: Rowley, McLeod, King, Odelusi.
Scorer: Preston (45)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 4
Gateshead: Pears, Tinkler, Kerr, Hunter (Rigg 64), Mellish, Olley, Salkeld (Thomson 76), White, O’Donnell, Boden, Armstrong. Subs not used: Foden,Devitt, Forbes.
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 0
Referee: Peter Gibbons
Town man of the match: Matty Kosylo