FC Halifax Town 2-0 Tamworth

FC Halifax Town v Tamworth at The Shay Stadium, Halifax.
FC Halifax Town v Tamworth at The Shay Stadium, Halifax.

FC Halifax Town recorded their second win of 2014 as goals from Matt Pearson and Lois Maynard helped them to a 2-0 win over Tamworth at the Shay.

Town put their nightmare climax at Chester 16 days ago behind them with their 13th home win of the season, but it was far from straightforward as Tamworth belied their lowly status to provide a few nervy moments along the way.

Halifax weren’t at their flowing best as they have been so often at home this term, but were still good value for their 4th win in six outings at the Shay and their first clean sheet in half-a-dozen games to boot.

The bobbly surface was hardly condusive to an eye-catching game but the Shaymen did enough to earn the win, with the two moments of real quality proving decisive as Pearson and Maynard produced two superb strikes to settle the match.

Pearson gave a typically whole-hearted display on his return from suspension and could have bagged a hat-trick but for the fine form of visiting keeper Cameron Belford.

Adam Smith and Pearson replaced Simon Lenighan and the suspended Josh Wilson in Town’s two changes from their 2-1 defeat at Chester.

Pearson was handed a more advanced role than usual and took to it with his usual vigour, buzzing in and around Lee Gregory to pounce on any loose balls in the final third.

One such opportunity was unnervingly crashed past Cameron Belford after a quarter of an hour as the England C man emphasised just what Town had been missing recently.

That capped a spell of increasing Town pressure in which Lois Maynard headed over Ryan Crowther’s cross as the game gradually kicked into gear.

Halifax then threatened to run riot as Belford kept the visitors in it single-handedly as he twice denied Smith from close-range and parried away Ryan Crowther’s speculative shot - all in the space of two minutes.

The Lambs looked like they’d be put to the slaughter sooner rather than later and exhibited the lack of confidence normally associated with winning only once in 11 matches.

Striker Matthew Barnes-Homer made his fourth appearance against Town this season, and his third at the Shay in just over two months after failing to score for either Forest Green or Cambridge.

His blocked shot just inside the box was the best Tamworth could muster in reply as their play was peppered with loose balls and sloppy control in stark contrast to their committed display in the reverse fixture in January.

Winger Andy Haworth made some decent in-roads against Town’s James Bolton as Tamworth enjoyed more possession in the opposition half without doing too much with it.

It started to look like not grabbing that second goal when so much on top might come back to haunt the Shaymen as Haworth’s shot forced Glennon into his first save shortly before the break.

Pearson’s copy book was then blotted in first-half stoppage time when he was booked for what referee Amy Fearn judged was a late tackle, leaving Neil Aspin furious yards away in the dugout.

Haworth continued to prove Tamworh’s best outlet as Town’s lead looked slender, with the visitors gradually growing in belief and forcing Marc Roberts and Simon Ainge into a few headed clearances inside their own box.

Town struggled to retain possession as Tamworth had them pinned back inside their own half, with Marlon Jackson brought on to try and swing the contest back in Halifax’s favour.

But for all their pressure, Tamworth failed to test Glennon and were left to regret their lack of incisiveness as Maynard drove forward from midfield and launched a wonderful shot from 30 yards that even a keeper of Belford’s quality could do nothing to stop.

Roberts then headed Paul Marshall’s corner over as the Shay seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief at Town’s more comfortable two-goal cushion.

Pearson then should have put any lingering doubts to bed from Gregory’s lay-off but he shot straight at Belford from 10 yards before the Tamworth stopper denied him again late on with a fine tip over the bar.

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, Roberts, Ainge, McManus, A Smith (C Smith 70), Pearson, Maynard, Marshall, Crowther (Jackson 60), Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, Lenighan, Challinor.

Scorers: Pearson (15), Maynard (67)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 4

Tamworth: Belford, Evans, Richards-Everton, Todd (Baker 58), Aimson, Keane, Kerry, Howarth (Reindorf 83), Mahon, Barnes-Homer, Godden. Subs not used: Peniket, Baker-Richardson, Belford.

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 8

Attendance: 1,313

Town man of the match: Matt Pearson