Sutton 3-2 FC Halifax Town

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It’s now nine games without a win for FC Halifax Town after they were beaten 3-2 at Sutton.

The Shaymen never really got going against a vibrant Sutton side, who went 2-0 up through Ross Lafayette and Craig Dundas before Tom Denton pulled a goal back.

But Lafayette scored again soon afterwards to put the game out of reach; if Town were still in any doubt, Matty Brown’s late penalty miss seemingly confirmed it wasn’t their day.

There was still time for Scott Garner to find the net from close range after Denton’s header was saved.

Town showed admirable spirit to keep the game alive to the end against a talented side, but an equaliser was one step too far.

Sutton attacked with purpose from the off, running at Town with pace and turning the Halifax defence back towards their own goal.

Louis John hit the outside of the post 10 minutes in, by which time the club’s player of the month Dundas had already threatened with his physicality and a good turn of pace.

Harry Middeton brought a good save from Jamie Butler with a clever free-kick under the Sutton wall from 20 yards.

That preceded an even better save from Brown’s close-range shot following a Town corner.

But the excellent Kieran Cadogan found some space with a burst of speed before he smashed a shot off the bar from 25 yards half-an-hour in.

At times, Town were under severe pressure, but for the most part, Sutton were contained and subdued fairly well.

Halifax’s cause wasn’t helped by an injury to Ben Tomlinson, already playing out of position on the left-wing, as Billy Heath’s seemingly never-ending injury list threatened to extend onto a second page.

Cadogan headed over and crashed a free-kick just wide,but that looked to be that before half-time.

Town had created nothing in open play, with Dan Batty and Middleton looking a little lost in the midfield scrum, but the visitors were defending resolutely, albeit a little nervously at times.

But Sutton winger Cadogan beat Josh Clackstone to a 50-50 ball near the halfway line and charged in-field, found the unmarked Lafayette to the right of the box, and the striker rifled in a superb rising drive in off the near post.

While Town hadn’t done enough to warrant a half-time lead, conceding so close to the interval was a hard one to take.

Their prospects of an equaliser looked slim on the first-half evidence, but even more so considering they had failed to score in four of the last eight games and were the league’s fourth lowest scorers away from home.

Half-time substitute Connor Oliver at least brought a touch of artistry to Halifax’s rudimentary first-half approach.

But it already appeared too little too late when Dundas fired in from eight yards after Lafayette had struck the bar following Kenny Davis’ cross from the left.

It looked a long way back for Halifax, in the game and after it, but Denton headed in Batty’s dinked cross from the right to hand The Shaymen some hope.

But that was extinguished 10 minutes later when Lafayette was inexplicably left unmarked to head in a free-kick from six yards.

Had the striker not dragged his shot wide moments later, he’d have had a 30-minute hat-trick.

Brown then crashed a penalty against the face of the bar with six minutes to go before Garner again reduced the arrears.

Sutton: Butler, Thomas, Beckwith, John, Collins, Davis, Dundas (Wright 76), Taylor (Bailey 73), Cadogan, Lafayette, Bolarinwa (Egan 78). Subs not used: Walton, Downer.

Scorers: Lafayette (45, 74), Dundas (59)

Shots on target:

Shots off target:

Corners:

Halifax: Johnson, Clackstone, Garner, Brown, McManus, Macdonald, Middleton (Oliver 46), Hotte, Batty (Morgan 72), Tomlinson (Clarke 30), Denton. Subs not used: Moyo, Nicholson.

Scorers: Denton (65), Garner (85)

Shots on target:

Shots off target:

Corners:

Attendance: 1,968

Referee: Neil Hair

Town man of the match: Tom Denton