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FC Halifax Town 4-0 Chester

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FC Halifax Town handed out a Christmas stuffing to Chester as they recorded back-to-back wins with a 4-0 victory at the Shay.

Tom Denton, Scott McManus, Danny Clarke and Josh Macdonald put Town into a commanding 4-0 half-time lead as Halifax scored four goals in a match for the first time this season.

Chester played like a pub team suffering with hangovers from the Christmas party the night before.

But Halifax produced some of their best football of the season to blow away the visitors, who could not live with their verve and vigour.

Quite a difference from Town’s comparatively laboured defeat to Barrow last time out at The Shay.

Of Town’s festive fixtures, this looked by far the most winnable, and proved so too, with Halifax well and truly back on course after their miserable winless run.

Halifax started the match like an angry beast that had been let out of its cage, charging at Chester with pace and urgency.

From the outstanding Macdonald’s low cross, Jake Hibbs missed his kick before Clarke’s shot was headed off the line, but Denton nodded in at the far post from Josh Wilde’s dinked cross.

Billy Heath said Town had been chomping at the bit to play since Aldershot, and he was right.

The Town boss had also reiterated the importance of the first goal, and that message had clearly got through to his players.

Macdonald’s shot was kept out by Sam Hornby minutes later before Scott Garner’s rebound was kept out inadvertently by Denton standing in front of the goal-line.

Macdonald, Clarke and McManus were offering good support to Denton up-front, with Town too sharp and too quick for a lacklustre Chester side.

The visitors sprang into life when Reece Hall-Johnson and Lucas Dawson forced Sam Johnson into a fine double save midway through the first-half.

But by the time McManus doubled Town’s lead just before the half-hour mark, the game looked over.

McManus’ rising shot into the top corner capped a superb move that was quick passing release Cliff Moyo down the right, and his cross was nodded down to Clarke by Denton before McManus’ finish.

Clarke then met Macdonald’s cross with a delightful flick header into the far corner as more statuesque Chester defending was punished.

But the away side’s frailties were even more brutally exposed when Halifax added a fourth from a Chester corner, as Johnson’s quick throw found Hibbs, and Macdonald finished coolly under Horby for his first goal for the club after racing onto a perfectly-weighted through ball.

The second-half had a lot to live up to, and Town’s pace did drop after such an exhilarating first-half.

They remained in control, but Johnson pulled off a brilliant save to deny substitute Harry White midway through a far quieter second 45.

McManus and Josh Wilde could have added a fifth as the game wore on, but Chester had looked a beaten side as soon as they fell behind.

Halifax: Johnson, Moyo, Brown, Garner, Wilde, Macdonald (Tomlinson 74), Clarke (Oliver 87), Collins, Hibbs, McManus, Denton (Waring 90). Subs not used: Nicholson, Duckworth.

Scorers: Denton (6), McManus (28), Clarke (33), Macdonald (38)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 6

Chester: Hornby, Gough, McCombe, Astles, Dawson (White 46), Hall-Johnson, James (Mahon 46), Udoh, Jones, Shaw, Akintunde. Subs not used: Halls, Hannah, Rowe-Turner.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 10

Attendance: 2,040

Referee: Glen Hart

Town man of the match: Josh Macdonald