Shaymen battle to superb win at promotion contenders Woking

Kingfield Stadium. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Kingfield Stadium. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Kingfield Stadium. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
FC Halifax Town battled to a superb 1-0 win at Woking to move into the top ten in the National League table.

Rob Harker first-half goal was protected by a spirited, fighting Halifax performance, with The Shaymen resilient and resolute throughout.

This represents another big step in the right direction for Town on the road to Wembley.

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The Shaymen gave it their all, put bodies on the line and were rewarded with one of the best results of their season.

While they move into the top ten, Woking missed the chance to move up into third.

If either side looked promotion contenders, it was Halifax.

James Daly had a low shot flash across goal after just two minutes.

But rather than being a signal of intent, it was wholly out of place in a timid, tame start to the contest.

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There were far too many aimless long balls from both sides, far too little care and composure in possession.

Rather than storming out of the blocks, it was a false start from the hosts.

And Halifax edge ahead when Harker notched his third in four games from close range when Will Jaaskelainen failed to keep hold of Tylor Golden's left-footed shot from 20 yards.

That put a spring in The Shaymen's step, with Town were producing nutmegs and one-twos. Woking were missing kicks and lacking a spark.

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It was too slow and ponderous from the home side. Halifax had them where they wanted them and were finding it too easy to keep it that way.

The Shaymen were excellent off the ball - bright, alert and alive to danger.

Town were tigerish, constantly closing down inside their own half, constantly moving left to right and back again, constantly nicking the ball when the chance arose.

Golden and Capello were superb on the flanks, sharp and dynamic, while Harvey Gilmour - one of two changes as well as Milli Alli - again excelled in midfield, gliding over the surface, showing good awareness, reading the game and using the ball well.

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Halifax were compact and disciplined, sticking to their shape. It was a textbook away performance.

Woking finally stirred a few minutes before half-time, with Sam Johnson finally called into action from a low shot by Jim Kellerman.

Rhys Browne was starting to cause problems, producing a fierce shot on the turn at an angle that Johnson reacted well to parry behind.

There was also some desperate defending from the visitors as Woking finally injected some urgency and intent into their play, finally looking like a team playing for third place.

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Woking played with more vibrancy and tempo after half-time, but Town had a sniff of a second a few minutes after the interval when Harker, epitomising a hard-working display, regained possession on halfway and starting an attack that ended with Capello firing into the side-netting.

Woking were still too ragged on the ball, still too easily picked off by a Halifax side showing no signs of taking their foot off the has before Wembley, throwing themselves in-front of shots, tracking back, closing down.

The hosts had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, which only added to the air of frustration.

This wasn't on The Cards. Town were proving the jokers in the pack.

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Substitute Marcus Dackers improved Woking's attacking output but the home side were yet to really build up enough sustained pressure.

Certainly not enough to break Halifax's resistance.

Was this really the same team that surrendered so meekly to Woking back in October? They were unrecognisable.

They were almost pegged back when Padraig Amond headed a corner off the post with 15 minutes to go.

Johnson then palmed away Joe McNerney's bullet header as Woking cranked up the pressure.

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It was attack v defence, but Woking's attack wasn't good enough and Town's defence was too good, even when substitute Mani Dieseruvwe was shown a straight red card for catching McNerney with his arm in an aerial challenge.

Woking: Jaaskelainen, Casey, Cuthbert (Wilkinson 75), McNerney, Moss (Lofthouse 75), Nwaboukei, Kellerman, Ince (Dackers 55), Browne, Daly, Amond. Subs not used: O'Connell, Lopata.

Scorer:

Shots on target:

Shots off target:

Corners:

Halifax: Johnson, A Senior, Stott, Arthur, Golden, Hunter, Gilmour, Capello, Alli (Cooke 72), Warburton, Harker (Dieseruvwe 85). Subs not used: Scott, Wright.

Scorer: Harker (21)

Shots on target:

Shots off target:

Corners:

Attendance: 3,089 (44 away)

Referee: Scott Tallis

Town man of the match: Eight-out-of-ten performances throughout the side but Adam Senior stood out for me. Absolutely brilliant at the back, threw his body on the line time and time again.

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