Salisbury 3-1 FC Halifax Town

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Kevin Holsgrove and Josh Wilson both saw red as FC Halifax Town lost 3-1 at Salisbury City.

Goals from Elliott Frear, Luke Ruddick and Ben Wright gave Salisbury what turned out to be a comfortable victory before a last minute own goal ensured Halifax maintained their record of scoring in every game this season.

But Town were again left counting the cost of a lack of discipline as they were reduced to nine men for the second time this season.

The nightmare opening to the campaign at Cambridge was played out again three weeks later as both former Guiseley players ensured it was another mission impossible for the Shaymen to salvage anything in the circumstances.

Neil Aspin made his first changes to the starting eleven since the win over Dartford, with captain Danny Lowe replacing Ryan Toulson and Dan Gardner coming in for Lee Gregory.

It was all change compared to the last couple of weeks as Scott McManus moved to right-back to accomodate Lowe on the opposite flank.

One thing that didn’t change was the confidence with which Town enjoyed possession as the visitors settled quickly into the game.

Chances were at a premium early on but Salisbury saw little of the ball as the Shaymen sprayed some lovely passes, long and short, across the plush playing surface.

But that counted for nothing when Salisbury took the lead as Elliott Frear was given too much space to latch on to Ricky Wellard’s through ball before slotting it past Matt Glennon midway through the first-half.

Town would no doubt have felt frustrated at being one goal down having enjoyed the majority of possession, but that could hardly excuse Holsgrove’s actions after half-an-hour when his kick to the shins of Glenn Wilson quite rightly made him the third Town player to see red this season.

The Town boss had spoken of Holsgrove’s potential to plug the gap left by Gregory’s absence, but the former Guiseley man didn’t exactly take his chance.

All of a sudden, 1-0 didn’t seem a bad scoreline at the break to give Town a chance to regroup at half-time, while Salisbury would certainly have taken that scoreline and having a man extra at the interval too.

It got better for the hosts though as Wilson was then dismissed five minutes before the break for a moving his head towards his Salisbury namesake, again on the receiving end of some rough treatment off-the-bal, rekindling painful memories of Cambridge as Town doubled their red card count for the season before half-time.

The fact that both sendings-off, like at Cambridge, came during one of the longest away-trips of the season only added to the overall frustration for the travelling Town supporters.

But it was the home fans who started to become unsettled as the second-half restarted, with Town battling bravely in adversity and carrying more of a threat than their hosts.

If anything, Salisbury looked like they were playing with nine men as their lack of a cutting edge provoked the wrath of some of the home support.

But any fears they had of an unlikely comeback by Town were erased as a sustained spell of pressure that saw Daniel Fitchett’s shot from eight yards out rattle the bar culminate in Luke Ruddick firing low across Glennon from a left-wing cross.

Substitute Ben Wright added a delightful third goal with a curling shot from the edge of the box that sailed out of Glennon’s reach to remove any lingering doubts.

A late own goal gave a touch of respectability to the scoreline that the nine-men’s second-half performance certainly merited.

Salisbury: Puddy, Ruddick, Clarke, Wilson, Kamdjo, McPhee, Wellard, Sinclair (Thomson 82), Belezika (Brett 58), Fitchett (Wright 71), Frear. Subs not used: Hart, MacDonald.

Scorers: Frear (22), Ruddick (68), Wright (81)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 5

Halifax: Glennon, Ainge, Lowe, Roberts, McManus, Smith (Johnson 64), Maynard, Pearson (McReady 86), Wilson, Gardner (Williams 46), Holsgrove. Subs not used: Senior, Marshall.

Scorer: Own goal (87)

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 7

Attendance: 820

Man of the match: Lois Maynard