Halifax Town 4
James Walshaw bagged his first two goals for Town as Neil Aspin’s side returned to form with a comfortable Blue Square Bet North win in Cambridgeshire.
Lee Gregory fired home from the penalty spot in between in a match that was over as a contest by the time Jamie Rainford completed the rout with a delightful chip for his first Town goal.
The Shaymen scored four and could comfortably have doubled that as they produced an impressive attacking display at the Glassworld Stadium.
The starting front three of Danny Holland, Walshaw and Gregory were magnificent throughout, posing any number of problems for the home defence.
Town showed just one change to the side that drew with Solihull in midweek with Holland replacing Rainford in attack.
And the Shaymen forced the first corner of the game after just 70 seconds, but it came to nothing as home keeper Jorg Stadelmann punched clear.
Town almost broke the deadlock after five minutes when Holland’s touch allowed Gregory to break down the right and send over a great cross.
The home defence struggled to deal with it but when the ball bobbled loose, Walshaw’s outstretched leg could only send it over the bar.
Moments later, from a poor clearance, Gregory crossed again, but neither Holland nor Walshaw could get a touch.
Gregory won a second Town corner in the 12th minute which Simon Garner swung over but Liam Hogan headed over.
Histon first posed a threat from a Zak Mills long throw which Holland headed clear and the striker was also there to block from Daniel Sparkes as he blasted in an effort from 25 yards.
Another Garner corner gave Gregory the chance to leap at the near post but he could only glance the ball across the face of goal.
A slip from Aaron Hardy allowed Dan Holman a rare Histon shooting chance, but the Town defence recovered well to block.
And the same home player cut in from the left to get an effort on goal, but Simon Eastwood was always behind it.
A Holland flick after 26 minutes opened up the home defence with Gregory and Walshaw both having a touch before Holland got clear on the right only to slice his shot into the side netting.
And a minute later Tom Baker almost got Walshaw in, but his defence splitting pass was a little to strong.
Holland controlled Ryan Toulson’s deflected cross brilliantly with his back to goal but was unable to find a teammate with the lay off.
The longer the Shaymen went without making their undoubted superiority tell, the more the feeling that Histon might catch them on the break grew.
But those fears were unfounded as Toulson found Gregory on the right and he jinked between a couple of defenders before finding Walshaw who opened his Town account with a low left footed shot.
Gregory cut in from the right as the interval approached and sent a shot into the keeper’s arms while a Walshaw free kick curled just past the post.
Baker’s hard work on the right won Town their first corner of the second half but Garner’s ball in was cleared.
It was only a brief respite for the home side with Walshaw controlling a high ball brilliantly and nutmegging a defender before losing possession.
Moments later Baker broke down the right and sent over a deep cross, but it was just too far beyond Walshaw for him to keep his volleyed shot under control.
The Shaymen doubled their advantage after 57 minutes when Walshaw slid Holland in and he was brought down by home player manager David Livermore. Gregory made no mistake from 12 yards.
And three minutes later they went further in front as Holland played a lovely ball through for Walshaw on the left side of the area and he dinked it over the advancing keeper from an acute angle.
Walshaw almost completed his hat-trick soon after, blocking an attempted clearance from Stadelmann but the ball rolled across the face of goal and the keeper recovered to clear.
Already three up, the Shaymen produced the move of the game so far in the 71st minute with Holland threading a beautiful pass through for Scott McManus on the left and Gregory only narrowly failed to finish with a sliding effort.
Histon pulled a goal back when Lewis Taafe’s 74th minute shot from the edge of the area deflected past Eastwood off Hogan.
But Town continued to attack and, from a Holland flick, Walshaw had a shot well saved by Stadelmann diving at full stretch to his right.
The Shaymen hit the post with five minutes remaining when Holland released Jamie Rainford down the right and he pulled the ball back for Ryan Toulson, still to score in a Halifax shirt, whose left footed effort rebounded back off the woodwork.
And within 60 seconds Rainford played a nice ball through for Baker but he was denied by a sprawling save from the keeper.
Town got their fourth with a minute of normal time remaining when another great pass from Holland found Rainford who raced clear and chipped the keeper.