Fylde 0-2 FC Halifax Town

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town

FC Halifax Town rounded off their season in fine style with a 2-0 win at promotion-chasing Fylde.

First-half goals by Matty Brown and Fylde's Arlen Birch put Town into a commanding lead that they never appeared in danger of losing.

Fylde made nine changes from their previous game, and it showed in a disjointed display.

Halifax looked like they didn't want the season to end, again rising to the occasion against one of the division's big boys.

The Shaymen were as impressive as the hosts were poor, and end a mixed-bag of a campaign with terrific back-to-back wins against two play-off dwellers.

Ash Hemmings early free-kick was straight at Sam Johnson before the lively Nick Haughton fired off target after cutting in on his right foot.

But the hosts were largely powder-puff, producing some neat build-up play but lacking a cutting edge up-front; that was sitting on the bench in the shape of top-scorer Danny Rowe.

In recent Town loanee James Hardy and Haughton, Fylde possessed some talented players, but didn't move the ball quickly or decisively enough to disrupt the Town defence, led commandingly by Brown.

The hosts came closest when Johnson reacted superbly to keep out what would have been an own goal by Joe Skarz from three yards out.

Halifax arguably looked like the side auditioning for places in upcoming play-off games, defending resolutely, competing aggressively in midfield and pressing well in advanced areas.

Nothing to play for? Hardly.

Niall Maher had an early header ruled out for offside, but Manny Duku then latched onto a poor back header by Tom Brewitt, but his attempted lob over ex-Halifax loanee Russell Griffiths was too tame, while his rebound shot seconds later was more powerful but flashed wide.

Fylde didn't heed the warning of Maher's disallowed goal though, as another good delivery from Jordan Preston - one of two changes along with Duku - was headed across goal and in by Brown.

The Shaymen struck again only three minutes later when Preston slipped in Duku down the right of the Fylde box, and his driven cross was turned past Griffiths by Birch.

Duku has been in Rodney's shadow a little over the last month or so after both made strong starts to their loans, but the Cheltenham man was a very effective presence in attack, while Rodney was more of a peripheral figure by his high standards.

Halifax started the second-half full of confidence, passing the ball stylishly with good movement inside the Fylde half.

The hosts, by comparison, were off-the-pace, and struggled to carve out any decent chances.

The Shaymen spurned a great one when they broke from a Fylde corner with four-on-two, but Mattty Kosylo couldn't find Rodney, and the opportunity went.

Those nine Fylde absentees won't have been too worried about getting their places back as the hosts lacked the guile and sharpness to launch a comeback.

Indeed, Duku should have added a third for Town after good build-up play by the influential Cameron King - who impressed in central midfield along with James Berrett - and Kosylo, but the striker fired low across goal and wide from a tight angle.

King burst onto Kosylo's deft through ball only for Griffiths to keep out his shot as Town sliced through the leaden-footed hosts far too easily again.

Fylde: Griffiths, Brewitt (Tunnicliffe 68), Birch, Odusina, Walters (Tasdemir 46), Hardy, Philliskirk, Reid, Haughton (Burke 80), Crawford, Hemmings. Subs not used: Bond, Rowe.

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 11

Corners: 9

Halifax: Johnson, Maher, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Berrett, King, Kosylo, Preston, Duku, Rodney. Subs not used: Rowley, Staunton, Edwards, Freedman, Gondoh.

Scorers: Brown (38), Birch (og 41)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 5

Attendance: 1,891

Referee: Martin Woods

Town man of the match: Cameron King