FC Halifax Town 2-0 Barnsley

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First-half goals from Matt Pearson and Scott Boden helped FC Halifax Town to a 2-0 win over League One side Barnsley at the Shay.

Town will have been hoping for a similar outcome from the game to a year ago, when they played Barnsley off the park in a 3-0 win.

And they produced a similarly impressive performance to brush aside the Tykes again.

Lee Gregory and Dan Gardner were on the scoresheet in 2013, and two players who could be just as important this season netted here as Pearson and Boden found the net for the second game running.

There were first Shay appearances for Boden and Ross Dyer from the start, but it was Town’s old guard who offered the biggest threat early on, with Adam Smith adding Barnsley left-back Tom Kennedy to his Most Taunted list, turning him inside-out before firing narrowly over.

That heralded a bright start from the hosts, wearing their new adidas kit, who certainly earned their three stripes with a positive opening.

Paul Marshall twice tested Luke Steele from the edge of the box, while Boden headed over from inside the area.

Barnsley put up more of a fight than twelve months ago though, and created the best chances in the first-half, with Reuben Noble-Lazarus forcing Matt Glennon into a close-range save before Danny Rose’s handball went unpunished before he rounded Glennon and tried to walk the ball in, giving Scott McManus just enough time to clear his shot off the line.

It got worse for the Barnsley man though when he inexplicably missed the target with the goal gaping from a superb right-wing cross moments later.

Marc Roberts saw a header cleared off the line in-between those two gilt-edged chances as both sides competed well without quite going at it full speed.

Dyer and Boden hinted at a burgeoning understanding as they combined well at one stage, with Dyer forcing Steele into a decent save from an angle.

Then with half-time approaching, Pearson produced the stand-out moment of quality as he tricked his way past two static Barnsley defenders and prodded the ball past Steele.

The Barnsley keeper was soon picking the ball out of his net again when Boden latched onto a long ball ahead of the still-static away defence and finished confidently from close-range.

Pearson nearly started the second half as he ended the first with a fierce drive from 20 yards that fizzed over after Richard Peniket’s lay-off.

Steve Williams, Richard Peniket and Kevin Roberts were given their first Shay run-outs in the second 45 as Barnsley struggled to get back in the game, despite bringing on the likes of Chris O’Grady and Dale Jennings.

O’Grady managed a couple of barely note-worthy shots but the visitors looked lethargic, which was perfectly illustrated by Jean-Yves M’Voto’s lacklustre clearance, but Smith’s hesitancy gave Barnsley time to block his shot after collecting the loose ball.

The fact that O’Grady resorted to simulation midway through the second-half emphasised what a forgettable afternoon the away side, and especially their striker, were having.

In contrast, Town looked energetic and purposeful, with substitutes Peniket and Dominic Marie getting plenty of joy down the left.

Both managers will be wary of reading too much into a pre-season friendly but any win over a side two divisions higher can only be good for confidence.

At this rate, Barnsley can come back every year.

Halifax: Glennon (Senior 46), Bolton (K Roberts 46), Ainge, M Roberts (Williams 46), McManus, Maynard, Marshall (Schofield 46), Pearson, Smith (Marie 66), Boden (Wilson 46), Dyer (Peniket 46).

Scorers: Pearson (41), Boden (43)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 3

Barnsley: Steele, McNight, Cowgill, Cranie, Kennedy, Abbott, Digby, Hourihane, Lazarus, Rose, Hoskins. Subs: Davis, Dibble, Nyatanga, O’Grady, Jennings, M’Voto, Oates, Smith, McHale, Boakye, Marris, Bree.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 2

Attendance: 1,257

Town man of the match: Matt Pearson