Halifax make it six wins out of seven with comfortable win at Oxford City

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FC Halifax Town got back to within a point of the National League play-off places after a comfortable 2-0 win over bottom side Oxford City.

Two goals in as many first-half minutes from Rob Harker and Andrew Oluwabori were enough to make it six wins out of seven for The Shaymen.

There can't be too many times in their history that Halifax have played on a Sunday lunchtime, but Town proved they are hungry for a top seven finish with a professional performance, doing what they needed with a minimum of fuss to put maximum pressure on the top seven.

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Other than Flo Hoti's scuffed shot that was tipped behind, the first quarter of the game offered little to warrant its live TV slot.

Oxford's five at the back with a deep-lying midfielder meant they were outnumbering Town in the first two thirds of the pitch, which didn't make for particularly fascinating viewing as Halifax failed to get on the ball much in advanced areas while Oxford lacked the same cutting edge they've lacked all campaign.

Lewis Coyle had brought a routine save out of Sam Johnson moments before Town went ahead, with Oxford playing some decent football down their right-hand side.

But Town taught them what was presumably not their first harsh lesson this season in the realities of National League football when a handling error by Marcin Brzozowski, after hesitation at the back, was punished when Harker pounced on the loose ball near the corner of the six-yard box and calmly slotted it into the bottom left corner.

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That was the same corner that Oluwabori, with appropriately bright green boots on St Patrick's Day, found a minute later with a well-struck effort a bit further out, with the PA announcer's voice already carrying an air of resignation about it.

Max Wright should have made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, one on one, but couldn't steer his shot past Brzozowski from the right of the box.

Oxford had gone from 5-3-2 to 3-5-2 in response to Town's brace, and didn't let their heads drop, getting into some good positions but not finding a finish.

Johnson reacted well to keep out Harvey Greenslade's low shot on the turn eight yards out, while Jack Evans blocked a couple of other efforts.

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But The Shaymen reached half-time with their two-goal lead intact and largely unthreatened.

It stayed that way after the interval too, with Jamie Stott his usual reliable self in repelling most of what Oxford threw at The Shaymen, which was never anything too worrying.

Harker's piledriver brought a good save by Brzozowski after an hour, with a Town third looking likelier than an Oxford comeback.

City couldn't be faulted for effort, especially considering their rock-bottpom status, but let themselves down too often by poor decision-making or a lack of quality.

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Brzozowski twice denied Harker a second goal in as many minutes with around 15 left to play, with Halifax perhaps sensing that Oxford heads were dropping, but a killer third eluded them. It wasn't for lack of chances.

Brzozowski kept out Tylor Golden, Kane Thomson-Sommers and Hoti's efforts late on, with the Oxford keeper recovering from his howler to end the game as arguably the best player on the pitch.

But for him and some wasteful finishing, the scoreline would have been chasm.

Oxford City: Brzozowski, Moore (Lumeka 82), Burley (Roddy 77), Kirby (Fleet 64), Humphrey-Ewers, O'Connell, Phillips, Coyle, Ashby, Parker, Greenslade. Subs not used: Smith, Birtwhistle.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

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Halifax: Johnson, Golden, Senior, Stott, Evans (Jenkins 83), Summerfield, Thomson-Sommers, Wright (Galvin 56), Hoti, Oluwabori (Cosgrave 70), Harker. Subs not used: Scott, Hunter.

Scorers: Harker (22), Oluwabori (23)

Shots on target: 10

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 5

Referee: Dale Baines

Attendance: 1,312

Town man of the match: Jamie Stott. Another very Jamie Stott performance, did what he had to do really well and didn't put a foot wrong.

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