FC Halifax Town 3
Kendal Town 0
LEE Gregory bagged a couple of goals as the Shaymen eased to victory against a Kendal side that went into the game seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
It said so much about Neil Aspin’s team that they were far from their best yet won with ease after Tom Baker had given them a 32nd minute lead from the penalty spot.
And had they been more clinical in and around the penalty area they could easily have doubled their goal tally.
But they will be happy with another routine three-goal win as they continue their march towards the title.
With Baker fit, it was no surprise that manager Neil Aspin named the same starting line up that battled for a point away to title rivals Worksop on Saturday.
And they created the first opening after four minutes, although it would have been a wonder goal had Lee Gregory managed to chip Kendal keeper Steve Dickenson from wide on the left after he had been released by a fine Baker pass.
At the other end, Ciaron Donnelley tried to curl an effort into the net from the edge of the area but only managed to send it well wide of Jonathan Hedge’s goal.
Danny Lowe was forced to clear on a couple of occasions and Kendal also won the first corner of the game after eight minutes as they started brightly.
The Shaymen produced the first spell of neat football when Richard Marshall surged forward from midfield before picking out James Dean on the right but his cross, aimed towards Gregory, was cut out at the expense of a corner.
Simon Garner’s delivery was claimed by the keeper and moments later Marshall overhit a cross from the right after exchanging passes with Aaron Hardy.
Rory Winters tried his luck from distance but only found the hands of Hedge, who sent the Shaymen on the counter by finding Jamie Vardy.
He played the ball through for Gregory on the left but he was unable to pull his cross back for Dean who was waiting in the middle.
Gregory was denied another chance to run at the Kendal defence by Stuart Howson’s hand, which the referee failed to spot had controlled the ball.
Howson’s foot was involved moments later as he turned a Garner corner goalwards, but a teammate came to his rescue and cleared.
The Shaymen were getting frustrated by some baffling refereeing decisions but benefited from one just past the half hour to take the lead.
Vardy fed Gregory on the left and he crossed low for Dean who, with his back to goal, went down under a challenge from Gary Stockforth.
The referee pointed to the spot and Baker dispatched the kick with ease, blasting it straight down the middle.
The Shaymen doubled their lead four minutes later after Vardy collected a return pass from Garner on the left and whipped in a cross that glanced off Gregory’s head on its way into the net.
Moments later Gregory and Dean combined to create an opening for Vardy, whose rising shot just cleared the Kendal bar.
Town were unable to make anything of the first corner of the second half, a Marshall in-swinger, nor were they able to capitalise on Vardy’s whipped cross moments later which was too high for half time sub Danny Holland at the near post.
Gregory’s flick from a Marshall free kick was deflected behind for a corner but it was a low key start to the second half with the Shaymen in control and Kendal seemingly having no ideas about how to get back into the game.
Vardy livened things up with a 30-yard header from Gregory’s cross field pass that had Dickenson momentarily back pedalling.
Adam Carden was booked for a challenge on Vardy, but Howson was allowed to go through the back of Gregory on numerous occasions without penalty.
It was, as it did in the second half on Saturday, starting to look like an attack against defence training session with Town seeing the lion’s share of possession.
Marshall sent in a shot that was saved by Dickenson and Vardy and Gregory almost got Holland away just past the hour mark.
And when Marshall picked out Gregory on the right, the ball in for Holland was cut out by a defender before it reached its intended target.
Holland found himself wide on the right moments later and crossed deep, but Vardy got it all wrong at the far post and headed well over.
And within 60 seconds Gregory played a delightful ball through for Holland who pulled his left footed shot across the face of goal and wide.
Kendal claimed a penalty after 70 minutes when Liam Hogan brought down Dave Foster on the edge of the area.
They wasted the free kick they were eventually awarded and within 60 seconds the Shaymen had wrapped up the game with a third goal.
Vardy did the leg work on the left and when he pulled the ball back Gregory supplied the emphatic finishing touch at the near post.
Kendal almost pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining when Carden sent in a speculative effort from 35 yards that came back off Hedge’s bar.
Gregory almost completed his hat trick with 10 minutes remaining, but his glancing header from a Scott Metcalfe cross flew over the bar.