FC Halifax Town 2-1 Solihull Moors

A brace by Liam McAlinden earned FC Halifax Town a 2-1 win over Solihull Moors at The Shay.

Sunday, 1st September 2019, 3:26 pm
FC Halifax Town

Alex Nicholls got one back for Solihull, but Town hung on to claim their sixth win in eight games.

The longer this form goes on, the more Town fans will start to believe something rather special is happening at The Shay.

Town were top at the end of August last season, and fell away. But there are enough signs to suggest this could be different; Pete Wild has galvanized a squad that look to be enjoying their football, he has players with the talent of Jacob Hanson and Jack Earing unable to break into the side, and the foundation of the Town defence looks just as strong.

After the mess of pre-season, who would have predicted this?

Solihull started in a 5-4-1 formation, which was a compliment to their hosts.

Moors' intention was clearly to smother Halifax, stop them getting them into an early rhythm and deny them time and space on the ball in the final third.

It worked alright for about 15 minutes.

Tobi Sho-Silva had his work cut-out against three big centre-backs, but wasn't helped by another unsympathetic referee, despite being pushed and pulled all over the place.

But the Town striker couldn't be stopped from producing a lovely lay-off from a high ball, from which McAlinden cut in on his left foot and swept a shot past Solihull keeper Ryan Boot.

Ironically, Sho-Silva should have been penalised when he pushed a Solihull player inside the penalty area shortly afterwards.

Wild and Chris Millington both gave impassioned pleas to the fourth official over the constant fouling of their striker, who was strong and worked hard, providing the focal point for the team with countless lay-offs and knock downs.

His opposite number Nathan Blissett, perhaps missing his strike partner Paul McCallum alongside him, was isolated up-front.

Solihull were big, powerful and strong, but other than a couple of tame efforts by midfielder Jamey Osborne, had offered virtually nothing for Town to worry about.

The league's highest scorers, no less.

It was a more cagey contest than the Fylde game a week ago at The Shay, but no less competitive.

Jamie Allen was a lot quieter than usual, with most of Town's attacks coming down the left through McAlinden or King, who were both impressive.

Wild had made a big call to leave out Cameron King in place of namesake Jeff, that's certainly one way to stop any scouts in attendance taking notice of him. But Jeff King was justifying his selection with a good display, picking up the ball in good areas and being positive with it.

To a man, The Shaymen were exuding maximum effort in chasing down, funneling back and closing down space, with their back-four excellent.

And going forward, their front four had been full of running and movement.

This was encapsulated a few minutes after the restart when McAlinden burst on to King's perfectly-weighted through ball before a precison finish across goal from an angle.

Jeff King should have put the game to bed but fired wide from 12 yards after great tenacity from Sho-Silva then McAlinden to hustle and harry Solihull's shaky defenders and keep the ball alive.

And moments later, Town were punished for that miss when Solihull's two substitutes combined, with Matty Stenson laying the ball on a plate for Nicholls to roll it in from close range.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Matty Brown was forced off injured for a knock sustained in trying to keep out the goal.

With Town still readjusting to Josh Staunton moving to centre-back, Blissett spurned a great chance to level when he blazed over from near the penalty spot.

The complexion of the game had now changed, with Solihull looking more menacing and Town more vulnerable.

Johnson saved from sub Darren Carter and Osborne flashed a shot wide, but The Shaymen held out, and Wild jumped into the air with joy at full-time.

What a first month in charge he has had.

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown (Earing 60), Binnom-Williams, Nolan, Staunton, Allen, J King, McAlinden, Sho-Silva. Subs not used: Appleyard, Hanson, C King, Macdonald.

Scorer: McAlinden (15, 50)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 2

Solihull: Boot, Reckord, Howe, Daly (Nicholls 52), Gudger, Vaughan, Osborne, Hawkridge, Hancox (Stenson 52), Storer (Carter 76), Blissett. Subs not used; Williams, Rowley.

Scorer: Nicholls (57)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 5

Attendance: 2,053

Referee: Martin Woods

Town man of the match: Liam McAlinden