A superb first-half performance saw FC Halifax Town cruise to a 3-0 win at FC United.
Goals from Dion Charles, Jordan Sinnott and Liam King ensured it was over as a contest at the break against a disorganised and dysfunctional FC United team, who were comprehensively outplayed by The Shaymen for the second time this season. Indeed, the most impressive thing about the hosts were their 50-or-so supporters who sang relentlessly throughout the game.
Town were very good in the first-half against Gloucester and Gainsborough, but took it to another level here as they finally married their dominance with some clinical finishing.
It’s now five wins in their last six away games for The Shaymen ahead of a crunch clash at second-placed Kidderminster next Saturday.
Charles produced an eye-catching performance in the 2-1 win over Gainsborough on Tuesday, and started in fine style here, making a couple of early jinking runs inside the FC United half before latching onto Tom Denton’s flick-on and curling a delightful right-foot shot across goal into the far corner.
Billy Heath had stressed the importance of the first goal in the build-up to the match, and for the first time in six games, Halifax had got it. And for only the second time in 11 outings, they’d scored in the first-half. By half-time, they’d got three.
FC United were clearly not a side for knocking it long, and while their football was easy on the eye, it made few inroads towards an equaliser, with the raucous early atmosphere also dampened by Charles’ opener.
Town’s midfield three of David Lynch, Sinnott and King, who replaced the injured Matty Kosylo, were winning the battle in the middle third, forcing the hosts back and wide, but making little progress forward.
Kieran Glynn should have got a touch to a free ball six yards out but missed his kick, although United must have wished they had a Tom Denton in their attack, with the Town striker back to his imposing best; aerially dominant and linking-up well with midfield. At the other end, the more diminutive Jason Gilchrist was dominated by Scott Garner and Nathan Hotte.
Halifax’s game-plan was working perfectly, so well in fact that you almost wondered what could go wrong, with Town playing like the home side.
United could not contain the aerial prowess of Denton, while their only effort by half-time was George Thomson’s low effort that rolled harmlessly wide.
Charles was easily the best player on the pitch, and after a superb turn and burst of pace away from the already bedraggled right-back Jake Williams, he played in Sinnott after 35 minutes, and when his shot was saved by David Carnell, Denton nodded in the rebound but was flagged offside. Not that a second Town goal would have been undeserved.
And it wasn’t when, after the ball had pin-balled around the United box for a while thanks to some statuesque defending, Sinnott brought it under control before volleying into the same corner Charles found earlier.
The hosts were still reeling from that when a quickly-taken free-kick caught the home side asleep, and King was free to stab the ball low across goal for Town’s second in three minutes.
So this is what happens when Halifax take their chances.
An indication of FC United’s inferiority was their three changes at half-time, but they made little difference. Halifax came off the pace after the interval, more concerned with preventing a possible comeback rather than adding to their lead, although neither looked too likely in a low key second-half.
In keeping with a season ravaged by injuries, Charles was forced off midway through the second-half. Some things never change.
Despite suffering an injury serious enough to prevent him taking goal-kicks, Carnell managed to keep out further efforts from Garner and Denton, with Sam Johnson not making a single save all afternoon.
FC United: Carnell, Williams, Kay, Baird (WIlkinson 46), Ashworth, Chantler, Glynn (Wolfenden 46), Lowe, Thomson (Adeloyi 46), Wright, Gilchrist. Subs not used: Greaves, Sheridan.
Shots on target: 0
Shots off target: 2
Halifax: Johnson, Roberts, Garner, Hotte, Wilde, Clarke, King (Moyo 88), Lynch, Sinnott (Morgan 77), Charles (Logan 65), Denton. Subs not used: Drench, Hone.
Scorers: Charles (10), Sinnott (42), King (44)
Shots on target: 7
Shots off target: 6
Town man of the match: Dion Charles
Referee: Paul Marsden