A goal in each half by Dayle Southwell and Matty Brown made it back-to-back wins at the start of the season for FC Halifax Town as they beat Barrow 2-0 at The Shay.
It’s definitely so far, so good for Halifax, who again got what they deserved with another encouraging display.
Southwell’s finish from close range and Brown’s late header were just reward for a performance full of endeavour, discipline and not short on quality either.
It should be noted that tougher tests are to come than Town’s first two opponents, but they can only beat what’s put in-front of them, and have done so convincingly.
Three of Town’s four goals so far have come from set-pieces, which already look a potent weapon.
The positives are stacking up already, while you’ll be hard-pressed to find any negatives from the first two matches. Long may it continue.
Both teams were unchanged from their opening-day wins, but not for long, with injuries forcing each into a substitution inside the first 10 minutes.
That disruption didn’t help the early rhythm of the contest, which was scrappy, and broken up by niggly fouls.
Halifax looked the better of the two sides, more creative on the ball, playing with more purpose and pressing high up the pitch, although both defences weren’t regularly breached.
Barrow were tidy in possession in the final third, but a little aimless at times; their performance didn’t really say much for Havant and Waterlooville, who they beat 3-0 on Saturday.
The best Barrow could create were shots off target from outside the area by Jack Hindle, Josh Kay and John Rooney.
Town made more of an impression, with former Barrow man Ben Tomlinson charging down the right flank before finding Dayle Southwell, who cross then found Jordan Preston, but his shot was blocked.
Tomlinson then sent Jonathan Edwards away but he didn’t take the chance to shoot and was crowded out; Tomlinson’s cross had earlier found Edwards in the middle of the box, but the striker misjudged his header.
But, as at Braintree, Halifax broke through shortly before the interval when Edwards held the ball up near the angle of the six-yard box before Southwell side-footed the loose ball into the bottom corner.
Southwell was close to another moments later when he burst forward and let fly from 25 yards, but his rising drive went over the bar.
Town had a decent shout for a penalty turned down just after the restart when Brown appeared to be hauled down in one of few goalmouth incidents as Barrow created next to nothing in response, while Town were just missing a final touch or pass in attack to complete some neat approach play.
A case in point was when Southwell darted towards goal midway through the second period only to fire his low shot across goal when a cross to Tomlinson may have been preferable.
Jamie Fullarton will again have been pleased with his side’s game management, as at Braintree, with Town working hard to leave no gaps defensively and still offer a threat going forward.
Out of nothing, Sam Johnson was forced into an outstanding save to tip Hindle’s long-range shot onto the bar after 72 minutes, before tipping over another Hindle effort from a similar distance.
Barrow upped the tempo and pushed Town further back, with The Shaymen coming under more pressure.
But the win was sealed when Tomlinson’s corner, earned by substitute Matty Kosylo’s lung-busting run, was headed back across goal and in by Brown.
Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Sellers (Hanson 83), Maher, Staunton (King 7), Tomlinson, Southwell, Preston (Kosylo 81), Edwards. Subs not used: Rowley, McLeod.
Scorers: Southwell (43), Brown (88)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 4
Barrow: Firth, Brown, Jones, Granite, Wilson (Elsdon 5, Barthram 67)), Taylor, Rooney, Kay, Hindle, Smith, Turner (Correia 79). Subs not used: Waterston, Burgess.
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 7
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Town man of the match: Ben Tomlinson