Maidenhead 0-1 FC Halifax Town

Maidenhead v FC Halifax Town
Maidenhead v FC Halifax Town

Liam McAlinden's first-minute goal saw FC Halifax Town move back to the top of the National League as they beat Maidenhead 1-0.

The game went to form as The Shaymen made it three wins from four, while it's now seven without a win for Maidenhead.

Halifax were confident and composed in the opening-half, and playing with purpose, before seeing out the win with a professional second-half performance, restricting the hosts to very few chances.

The difference from just over a year ago, when Halifax succumbed so meekly to a 3-0 defeat at York Road, was obvious.

Another week, and more evidence that The Shaymen are here to stay among the league's pacesetters.

Whether The Shaymen sensed a vulnerability or not about their hosts - who had only won once in seven home games and not won in six overall - Halifax attacked Maidenhead with aggression and energy from the off.

McAlinden struck less than 45 seconds in when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box, and his sweetly-struck left-foot shot arrowed across goal into the bottom corner for his seventh of the season.

There was definitely a vulnerability about Maidenhead now, as Town moved the ball quickly and with good movement between their front four, spearheaded by Cameron King.

After his low shot from a corner was saved by Chris Dunn, Tobi Sho-Silva brought a fine save from the keeper with a shot on the turn after a burst forward by King, cutting in from the left.

Liam Nolan and Charlie Cooper were hoovering up all the loose balls in midfield, while Maidenhead lacked the inventiveness or confidence to penetrate The Shaymen's defence, still without the injured Matty Brown, who dealt easily with their crosses from deep.

When Ryan Upward did manage to charge down the right flank and produce a good cross, top-scorer Danny Whitehall ballooned a shot over from 15 yards.

There was more of a finesse to Halifax, a lightness of touch, while Maidenhead were aimless in comparison.

A second goal would probably have reflected Town's superiority before half-time, but Sho-Silva sent two decent chances over the bar, one a flick header from a right-wing cross, and the other an awkwardly-struck shot from the left of the area after a cut-back.

Bernard Mensah went close for Maidenhead from Seth Twumasi's cross from the right, but his shot was diverted just wide by some brave Town defending.

If the hosts had received a rollocking at half-time, it hadn't worked, as most of them lumbered around the pitch after the restart looking bereft of confidence.

They looked there for the taking if Halifax could summon a second goal.

The second-half was scrappy, untidy and lacking in quality in the final third. Halifax were easily the better side on the ball in attacking areas, but like their hosts, created little; Halifax had to withstand some strong pressure at Dover last Saturday, but nothing of the sort here.

Josh Staunton and Nathan Clarke stood firm at centre-back, but Maidenhead barely laid a glove on Halifax as the clock ticked down.

Substitute Jeff King could have sealed it late on but Chris Dunn saved his shot across goal, before Sam Johnson was finally tested, keeping out a fizzing drive sub James Akintunde.

Maidenhead: Dunn, Steer, Ellul, Massey, Twumasi, Comley, Smile, Upward, Mensah (Akintunde 65), Whitehall (Sheckleford 82), Cassidy. Subs not used: Ashby-Hammond, Davies, Grant.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 3

Halifax: Town team - Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Staunton, Binnom-Williams, Cooper, Nolan, Williams (Allen 64), C King (J King 77), McAlinden, Sho-Silva (Southwell 86). Subs not used: Appleyard, Maher.

Scorer: McAlinden (1)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 2

Attendance: 1,249

Referee: Carl Brook

Town man of the match: Josh Staunton