Maidenhead United 1-2 FC Halifax Town: Shaymen keep play-off hopes alive with crucial win
Goals from Jake Hyde and Jeff King secured a crucial win for FC Halifax Town at Maidenhead to keep The Shaymen's play-off dream alive.
Danilo Orsi got one back for ten-man Maidenhead, but Town held on for a deserved win.
The Shaymen upped their game in what was a must win encounter to take their fate to what will be a nervy final day against fellow play-off chasers Chesterfield.
Hyde returned to spearhead what had looked like a pretty bunt attack without him, flanked by Darren Stephenson, making his first Town start, and King in a 4-2-3-1.
The Shaymen were effective in nullifying the hosts early on, limiting them to one or two blocked efforts.
But Town struggled to create much themselves too, with passes going astray and moves breaking down too easily.
A lovely cross by Luke Summerfield who was the most energetic and creative in a blue shirt, was glanced wide by Hyde from near the penalty spot midway through the first-half.
A left-footed shot from outside the box by Stephenson was then easily saved by James Holden, who also held an effort from Summerfield soon afterwards.
It was better from Halifax compared to their previous two outings, not brilliant, but certainly more composed and confident, with more of a purposeful, attacking mindset.
Town's cause was given a massive boost when Ryan Upward sent off for a second booking after a trip on King, who had been taking pelters from a section of the home crowd since kick-off.
That dismissal entrenched The Shaymen as the more commanding side after they had grown in confidence from a quiet start.
And Hyde capped an encouraging opening half when he glanced Summerfield's corner across goal and into the far corner for Halifax's first goal in three games.
By half-time, what had been a boisterous home crowd, Maidenhead's first since March 14 last year, was a bit fed-up.
Maidenhead's dangermen Sam Barratt and Danilo Orsi had been quiet, while Summerfielfd and Martin Woods had seen plenty of the ball in midfield and dictated more of the game as the first 45 went on.
Shortly after King's effort was ruled out for offside, there was a big chance for Stephenson a few minutes after the interval from Kieran Green’s low cross, but Holden did well to spread himself and save the shot with his legs.
Town were the dominant side, as expected with their man advantage, but with the home crowd doing their best to rally the hosts, the comfort of a second goal was desirable.
And they got it when King stroked in a wonderful free-kick across goal from 25 yards after he had been fouled.
The pelters for King continued, but they were now the desperate cries of a home crowd starved of anything to cheer about.
They were nearly celebrating a goal when top-scorer Orsi produced the hosts' first attempt on target after an hour, but Sam Johnson reacted well to kick it away.
That was a warning though, and moments later, Orsi, who was announced as the club's player of the year at half-time, produced a close range finish from a long throw into the box.
It was a different game now, with Maidenhead and their supporters invigorated by Orsi'a goal.
Summerfield saw a shot saved from a tight angle, with the game on a knife-edge, and the next goal vital. Town's man advantage was less obvious now.
Holden produced an excellent save to keep out King's rising drive after an incisive pass by Summerfield had played in Neill Byrne down the right.
Town had successfully taken the sting out of the game since Maidenhead's goal though, and counted down the clock in relative comfort.
There was a routine save for Johnson from Dan Sparkes' curling shot, before Woods' volley was cleared in-front of the line at the other end,
Maidenhead: Holden, Massey, Wells, Parry, Sheckleford, Coley (Wiltshire 85), Ince, Sparkes, Barratt (Keetch 73), Upward, Orsi. Subs not used: WSmith, Twumasi.
Scorers: Orsi (62)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 3
Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Clarke, Maher, Senior, King (Campbell 91), Summerfield, Woods, Green (Tear 83), Hyde, Stephenson. Subs not used: Davison-Hale, Spence, Bradbury.
Scorers: Hyde (44), King (58)
Shots on target: 9
Shots off target: 4
Referee: Tom Reeves
Town man of the match: Special mention to Nathan Clarke and Niall Maher, both very good at the back, but Luke Summerfield takes it for being back to something approaching his best with a dominant, controlled display in midfield.