An awful first-half cost FC Halifax Town dear as they lost 3-0 at Maidenhead.
Town conceded three goals in a game for the first time under Jamie Fullarton as two from the superb Josh Kelly and another from the also impressive Adrian Clifton put Maidenhead in complete command at half-time.
The Shaymen were never in control of the contest and all too soon had too much work to do to salvage anything from it.
Fullarton said before the game that his side’s performances on the road hadn’t got the points they deserved, and while that may be true, they deserved nothing here.
Maidenhead were faster and stronger than their visitors, who had none of the energy and vigour about them that helped Fullarton to last month’s manager of the month award, and saw Halifax come into the game in fifth place.
Sanmi Odelusi made his first Town start in place of Jonathan Edwards, while Niall Maher came in for Simon Lenighan.
Maidenhead were excellent from the start, full of running off the ball, winning the 50-50s and pressing their opponents.
Halifax were slow out of the blocks in comparison, not retaining the ball well enough and unable to contain a pacy Maidenhead attack.
Early shots at goal from Clifton and Harold Odametey set the tone from the hosts, who also went close through giant centre-back Ayo Obileye’s header.
Kelly’s first could hardly have been simpler, as he nodded in a right-wing cross at the far post.
And the pressure continued when James Comley fired just off target after another Maidenhead cross wasn’t dealt with, before Kelly’s pace got him in-behind the Town defence, but Sam Johnson ensured only a corner was conceded after forcing the striker wide.
From the resulting set-piece, Obileye headed just wide again.
The driver of the train that shuttled behind the main stand at York Road must have been listening to the match, as it’s horn was honked shortly after Clifton’s goal, when he pounced as another cross wasn’t cleared to rifle in from 12 yards.
All signals were pointing to a Town defeat.
After that, Johnson kept out another shot, and Clifton volleyed wide, with The Shaymen unable to muster a response.
Town have defended with real commitment, determination and desire so far this season, but their defence looked uncharacteristically vulnerable here, especially to crosses and to pace. Both of which Maidenhead exploited.
By the time Kelly got his second and Maidenhead’s third, it already looked game over. Once the striker latched onto a flick on by Clifton to a long pass, there was no catching him, and he stayed cool to finish past Johnson.
There was at least a bit more urgency from Town after the interval, but that was coupled with Maidenhead coming off the frantic pace they’d set in the opening 45.
Maher sent a free-kick over from 30 yards, Nathan Clarke headed towards goal and there were some crosses and possession inside the hosts’s half, but Maidenhead’s lead never looked under threat.
Edwards had a chance for a consolation goal with a quarter of an hour to go, but couldn’t connect properly with Jordan Preston’s cross, before Clarke had a header cleared off the line a few minutes later.
The outstanding Obileye was then sent-off in the 90th minute for a second booking.
Maidenhead: Pentney, Clerima, Obileye, Massey, Steer (Owusu 58), Odametey, Comley, Worsfold, Clifton (Archer 83), Upward (Mulley 28), Kelly. Subs not used: Smith, Akintude.
Scorers: Kelly (12, 36), Clifton (18)
Shots on target: 8
Shots off target: 9
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Skarz (Sellers 82), Berrett, Maher, Odelusi (Edwards 62), Southwell, Kosylo, Preston. Subs not used: Rowley, King, Lenighan.
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 4
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Town man of the match: Joe Skarz