MATCH VERDICT: FC Halifax Town 5-2 Barnet

FC Halifax Town handed out a pre-Christmas stuffing as they thrashed Barnet 5-2 at The Shay.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 9:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 9:47 pm
FC Halifax Town v Barnet

Jeff King started the rout after just 21 seconds, with first goals for the club for Nyal Bell, Jake Hyde and Martin Woods, along with a Jack Earing effort.

Town were outstanding, playing with verve, confidence and cohesion.

You watched with admiration but also a little mystification as to where this level of performance had been hiding.

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It's fair to say The Shaymen have blown hot and cold this season, but they were simply on fire here.

Everything about Halifax sizzled and fizzled, their movement, their control, their running off the ball and their passing.

Barnet couldn't live with them. If only Town fans had been at The Shay to see it.

A knee injury meant no Jamie Allen, while Niall Maher captained the side in the absence of Nathan Clarke, who will miss the next month with an eye injury.

Pete Wild was brave in his decision to persist with 3-4-1-2, and his players matched that attitude from the off, bringing the ball out from the back and playing positively and on the front-foot.

None more so than King, on his return from a three-game ban.

The right wing-back showed exactly what Town had been missing with a barnstorming start, marauding onto Earing's pass before blasting a low drive across goal and in off the post.

That was the start Town needed. That was the aggression, the urgency, the intensity Town needed.

King was the epitome of Town's fast start, rampaging up the right flank, bursting with energy and intent.

Once Barnet had come to terms with such an early setback, they had efforts from Wes Fonguck and Anthony Wordsworth, the latter requiring a block from just in-front of the line.

The visitors played some decent football themselves in the Town half, but couldn't cut through Halifax's back three.

Tom Bradbury's forward runs down the left had given Town an extra dimension to their attacks, and from his cross, Bell rose high to head in from six yards.

Hyde had twice come close to converting crosses, but finally got his first Town goal when he controlled a cross from the left and was given far too much space to turn and fire home from eight yards.

Gone was the rigidity of recent weeks. Town were buzzing against The Bees.

Earing was finding pockets of space, playing on the half turn and driving upfield, Hyde and Bell were making good runs ahead of him, while Danny Williams and King were providing width down the flanks.

Passes were short, sharp and quick, players interchanged positions and, most importantly, Town were clinical. Three first half shots on target had resulted in three goals.

Summerfield smashed the ball narrowly over just after the restart from King's clever cut-back as Town showed no sign of easing up.

And minutes later, Earing got the goal his performance deserved when he was given the freedom of The Shay to nod in the rebound after King's piledriver was parried.

The best was yet to come though as Woods sent a thunderous free-kick crashing in off the underside of the bar from 25 yards out as Town hit five for the first time since the 5-2 win over Maidenhead in January.

Muhammadu Fall got one back for Barnet with a scrambled goal at an angle from close range, and then Inih Effiong converted Faal's deflected effort, but the damage had long since been done.

Halifax: Johnson, Maher, Byrne, Bradbury, King, Williams (Senior 69), Summerfield, Woods (Danns 60), Earing, Hyde, Bell (Nepomuceno 60). Subs not used: Davison-Hale, Senior, Green.

Scorers: King (1), Bell (22), Hyde (44), Earing (48), Woods (56)

Shots on target: 7

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Barnet: Loach, McQueen, Taylor, Nugent, Binnom-Williams, Dunne, Wordsworth (Pascal 76), Faal, Fonguck, Mason-Clark, Effiong. Subs not used: Connors, Mohsni, Azaze, Vasiliou.

Scorers: Faal (68), Effiong (85)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 3

Referee: Scott Simpson

Town man of the match: Lots of contenders, especially Jack Earing, but Jeff King was excellent on his return to the side. Got the goalfest up and running and covered every blade of grass on the right flank.