FC Halifax Town 2-0 Hartlepool

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Two goals in three second-half minutes from Nathan Hotte and Ben Tomlinson saw FC Halifax Town record a crucial 2-0 win over Hartlepool in front of new manager Jamie Fullarton.

Both scorers netted their first of the season as Town registered just their second win in 11 games, but surely their most important of the campaign to date.

Only hours after the Scot was appointed, he was at The Shay to watch Neil Young’s last game in temporary charge. Over to you Jamie.

And Fullarton, whose only previous managerial job was a 70-day stint at Notts County two years ago, will have plenty to ponder.

He will have been pleased at Town’s effort and commitment to the cause, and impressed by the contributions of the likes of Michael Collins, calm and reliable in midfield, Matty Brown, commanding and authoritative in defence, and Matty Kosylo, threatening and energetic going forward.

Town’s first clean sheet in six is another plus on a positive night for the Shaymen - and there haven’t been many of those lately.

The highlights of a fairly incident-free opening-half were long-range efforts that flashed just wide by Tomlinson, who replaced the injured Tom Denton, and Hartlepool’s Michael Woods.

Hartlepool’s free-flowing, incisive football of the reverse fixture was conspicuous by its absence, as they struggled to make an impression on the Town defence, looking ponderous and laboured by comparison to earlier in the season.

Halifax produced some sharp, quick passing at times, but in areas too far from goal to lead to much.

Another difference from the first meeting between the teams this term was Town being much more aggressive in closing Hartlepool down and regaining possession - their work-rate was outstanding - rather than standing off as they did back in November.

Rhys Oates had a flick header cleared off the line by Scott McManus, but Town were the better side in open play, with some good movement off the ball, especially from Matty Kosylo and Tomlinson on the flanks, adhering to Young’s desire for the wide players to be more involved in the build-up.

Whether Young had asked for one last big effort before he steps aside or for the players to impress the watching Fullarton, The Shaymen seemed to have responded.

Hartlepool stepped it up after half-time though, pressing Town like they’d been pressed in the first-half, and Louis Laing headed just over from six yards from a floated free-kick, while Jake Cassidy then did the same midway through the second-half from another superb delivery by Blair Adams.

Town’s first effort on target didn’t arrive until the 73rd minute when Jake Hibbs’ header was straight at Scott Loach.

But a minute later, a loose ball in the box fell to Hotte, and his deflected shot from 10 yards found the corner of the net.

And the second wasn’t long in coming, as Hibbs’ shot was only parried by Loach, and Tomlinson reacted superbly to head the rebound over the keeper.

Town back to winning ways and the new manager hasn’t even started yet.

Halifax: Johnson, Moyo, Brown, Garner, McManus, Tomlinson, Collins, Hibbs (Oliver 90), Hotte, Kosylo, Tutonn (Fondop-Talom 80). Subs not used: Nicholson, Duckworth, Riley.

Scorers: Hotte (75), Tomlinson (77)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 5

Hartlepool: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Harrison, Adams, Featherstone, Newton, Woods, Oates, Rodney, Cassidy. Subs not used: Hawkes, Hawkins, Pritchard, Catterick, George.

Shots on target: 0

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 2

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 1,548

Town man of the match: Michael Collins