FC Halifax Town 4-2 Dover

Actions from Halifax Town v Dover
Actions from Halifax Town v Dover

FC Halifax Town recorded only their second home win of the season and moved off the foot of the National League table as they beat high-flying Dover 4-2 at The Shay.

Shaun Tuton continued his purple patch with the opening goal, which was soon added to by Nicky Wroe.

Ricky Miller got one back before Jordan Burrow notched his 13th league goal of the season as Town scored three first-half goals for the second successive home game.

Dover struck back again through Stefan Payne before the outstanding Tuton lashed home his second and Town’s fourth to make it 20 goals in their last three matches.

Never a dull moment.

If this is to be the practical part of Jim Harvey’s job interview, then the permanent contract could be drawn up before the visit of Guiseley next Saturday.

He may have been overlooked last time by the Town board, but surely won’t be now after back-to-back wins for the first time since February.

And the manner of those wins, with eight goals and a generally more organised look about the team, will attest to Harvey’s positive influence since the departure of Darren Kelly.

Sam Johnson became Town’s fourth different goalkeeper of the season and made his first senior appearance since April in Halifax’s only change from Gateshead, although they did switch to a flat back four.

Tuton had only scored once in his first 17 league games, but made it six, soon to be seven, in his last three when he confidently swept the ball in after Kevin Roberts’ cross wasn’t properly cleared.

Five minutes later after absorbing a bit of Dover pressure, Town broke forward through Jordan Burrow, who deftly played in Wroe, whose first shot was saved but buried the rebound into the far corner.

It had been a very impressive first 20 minutes, with Town stringing together some cohesive and incisive football, but was eventually soured by Dover getting a goal back and extending that run without a league clean sheet to 30 matches.

Miller, who had been on Halifax’s radar as one to watch under Neil Aspin, beat Matty Brown to a through ball before also seeing his first shot saved, but he beat Brown to the rebound and tapped in.

Tuton was like a man possessed - showing a hint of Vardy-esque tenacity and drive - and launched a rapid counter-attack moments later before meeting substitute Josh Macdonald’s cross with a fierce shot which was tipped onto the bar by Andy Rafferty.

Dover had scored a goal Barcelona would have been proud of at Chester in midweek, but it was Halifax who were turning on the style.

Lightning almost struck twice in successive home games when Ricky Modeste’s cross came back off the crossbar; Alex Woodyard’s wayward cross flew in for Braintree two weeks ago - perhaps Town’s luck was finally turning?

Miller was Dover’s biggest threat and belied his small frame by being a constant menace to the Town defence, although referee Robert Jones made the right call is ignoring his claim for a penalty after a coming-together with Brown, who looks twice the player he did during those sluggish first few weeks of the season.

Equally, Tuton and Burrow had been a thorn in Dover’s side, and combined for Town’s third after a dreadful error by a Dover defender let in Tuton, who squared for Burrow to tap the ball in from six yards.

There was an aggression about Town as they chased and harried the visitors and broke forward with purpose, already a feature of the team under Harvey.

Wroe and James Bolton both went close to a Town fourth after the restart, although Stefan Payne fired wildly over for the visitors from six yards after excellent work by substitute Toby Ajala.

Town were composed on the ball, with Macdonald and Wroe both embarking on skilful forays forward with the ball as the Shaymen’s confidence grew.

But a well-struck low free-kick by Payne from 20 yards again saw Dover peg back their hosts as the goals kept on coming.

And the torrent for Tuton kept on coming too as he drove the ball low under Rafferty after latching onto a through ball in behind a Dover defence who must have been sick of the sight of him by now.

Halifax: Johnson, Bolton, O’Brien, Brown, (Sadlier 74), K Roberts (Macdonald 15), James, Bencherif, Wroe, McManus, Burrow, Tuton. Subs not used: Walker, Clappison, Porter.

Scorers: Tuton (8, 75), Wroe (13), Burrow (42)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 3

Dover: Rafferty, Magri (Murphy 78), Raggett, Orlu, Grimes, Dickinson, Thomas, Payne, Deverdics, Modeste (Ajala 46), Miller. Subs not used: Diallo, Sterling, Walker.

Scorers: Miller (19), Payne (63)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 8

Attendance: 1,067

Town man of the match: Shaun Tuton