FC Halifax Town got back to winning ways with an impressive performance as they won 3-0 at Solihull Moors.
Town’s attackers have been particularly productive of late, but the midfield trio of Liam Needham, Jon Worthington and Dan Gardner were on target as they outclassed a home side lacking the quality of their visitors.
Games between these two sides are historically hard-fought but not high-scoring, with just four goals in their last four meetings, but Town eased to victory in the end, and could have had more than the three they managed.
Neil Aspin freshened up his starting 11 after the same group had started against Worcester and Harrogate, with Gareth Seddon, Adriano Moke and Jason St Juste forming a front three replacing Dan Gardner, Alex Titchiner and Lee Gregory, while Jon Worthington and Matt Pearson replaced Chris Worsley and the injured Liam Hogan respectively.
It was already Town’s fourth game of the month, while Solihull only had a 3-0 win at Stalybridge to speak of from March so far.
The hosts started brightly, with two chances bookending their early pressure, but unlike Harrogate 48 hours earlier, they failed to take them.
Dior Angus took advantage of Scott McManus’ uncertainty from a high cross-field pass by bursting onto the ball and bearing down on Matt Glennon, but he shot wide across goal.
Omar Bogle then wasted an equally good chance after latching on to a loose ball in the box but he badly skewed his shot off target.
Town then came into the game and scored from their first real chance after 19 minutes when Liam Needham timed his run forward perfectly to meet St Juste’s low cross from the left with a sweeping finish across Jasbir Singh.
That signalled the start of a more composed spell from The Shaymen, with Sean Williams particularly impressing in a midfield without the sure-footed Dan Gardner.
On a pitch more bobbly than an old woolly jumper, Williams provided a calming influence with some precision passing and made his presence known with some well-timed tackles in an energetic display.
Indeed, Adriano Moke was tweeting before full-time how impressive Williams’ performance was as the diminutive midfielder produced a performance that left you exhausted just watching it.
But his and Town’s good work in the first-half could and should have been undone when Bogle got in behind the Town defence but again lacked composure from ten yards out when he badly miscued his shot high and wide.
It was Town ruing missed opportunities shortly after the interval though when substitute Alex Johnson robbed Karl Broadhurst 25 yards out but lacked conviction in his finish, which Singh saved comfortably.
The Solihull keeper then denied Seddon moments later from ten yards out before Danny Lowe’s heart-in-mouth moment when Junior English tried to reach the Town captain’s back pass before claiming he was tripped by Lowe’s outstretched foot.
However, the referee gave nothing and mid-way through the second-half, Town found the cushion of a second goal they were seeking when Worthington pounced on to a loose ball to the right of the penalty box and unleashed a shot which arrowed low across Singh to ripple the far corner of the net.
Solihull were never quite the same proposition after that, especially with the introduction of the rather rotund Gary Birch, but fellow sub Johnson continued to make an impact as he again found himself clear against Singh, but the keeper parried his shot away to his right.
Of course, a Town game wouldn’t be complete without a moment of magic from Gardner, who completed the win in style.
His first shot after coming on had hit the corner flag, but he finished off a lightning quick break from a Solihull set piece as he took Alex Titchiner’s pass into the box before deftly dinking the ball over Singh.
Solihull: Singh, Pierpoint, Blackwood, Fleet, Broadhurst, Langdon, Angus (Birch 65), Denny (Knights 65), Bogle, English, Beswick (Spencer 80). Subs not used: Connolly, Martinez.
Shots on target: 0
Shots off target: 3
Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Pearson, Needham, Lowe, Worthington, Williams, St Juste (Gardner 76), Moke (Johnson 46), Seddon (Titchiner 83), Subs not used: Senior, Worsley.
Scorers: Needham (19), Worthington (64), Gardner (90)
Shots on target: 8
Shots off target: 3
Man of the match: Sean Williams