FC Halifax Town 3-0 Maidstone

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A rampant FC Halifax Town made it three wins out of three as they eased past Maidstone 3-0 at the Shay.

Cameron King’s deflected shot handed Town the lead five minutes before the break, and was added to by Ben Tomlinson and a Dayle Southwell penalty as Jamie Fullarton’s side overwhelmed their opponents; too quick, too aggressive, too good.

Halifax should face a sterner test at promotion-favourites Salford on Tuesday, but look ready for it.

There were more positive signs from Halifax, who again had the basics of being organised and hard-working as well as capable of some quick, incisive football.

Their performance should again be tempered by the fact that it’s still only August and they will play stronger opposition.

But who’s complaining after nine points from a possible nine?

Ryan Sellers and Josh Staunton missed the game through injury, while Jordan Preston was dropped to the bench, alongside only three other substitutes.

King and Jacob Hanson made their first starts of the season, with Michael Duckworth shifting to left-back, further emphasising the need for reinforcements.

After his impressive cameo in midweek, Matty Kosylo was also handed a start.

Town attacked with energy and movement from the off against a vulnerable-looking Maidstone defence, who were too easily dragged out-of-shape when Town went forward in the early stages.

Southwell and Jonathan Edwards both had headers off target, while Edwards had a goal flagged offside midway through the first-half.

Southwell was finding pockets of space in-front of the visitors’ back-line, who found the physicality and pace of Edwards difficult to contain.

Despite their encouraging start, Town could have found themselves behind when in-form Blair Turgott, who had three goals from his first two games, chipped the ball over Matty Brown before his volley whistled just over. Turgott then forced a routine save by Sam Johnson from range.

But for the third game in-a-row, The Shaymen opened the scoring in the five minutes before half-time when King’s speculative shot from 25 yards took a big deflection off centre-back Will De Havilland to wrong-foot keeper Lee Worgan.

Halifax merited the lead on the first-half balance of play, having been rarely troubled at the back, although they had dropped off the pace a little from their high-intensity start.

Maidstone appeared to have no answer though when Town doubled their lead after Tomlinson’s powerful drive across goal from the byline was parried into the net by Lee Worgan, who looked to have literally handed the hosts an unassailable advantage.

Nathan Clarke headed narrowly over from a dangerous Tomlinson corner before Tomlinson fired narrowly wide from range, with Maidstone distinctly second-best.

And by the time Southwell stroked home his penalty - after Edwards had been fouled by Jordan Wynter trying to reach Tomlinson’s free-kick - it really was game over.

Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Duckworth, Maher, King, Tomlinson, Southwell (Preston 83), Kosylo (McLeod 76), Edwards. Subs not used: Rowley, Odelusi.

Scorer: King (40), Tomlinson (52), Southwell (71)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 5

Maidstone: Worgan, Twumasi, Finney (Quigley 67), De Havilland, McLennan, Wynter, Muldoon )Paxman 61, Lewis, Turgott, Loza (Coker 61), Mullings. Subs not used: Efete, Phillips.

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 2

Attendance: 1,534

Referee: Martin Woods

Town man of the match: Ben Tomlinson