Shaymen end goal drought but are beaten at home by Eastleigh

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FC Halifax Town ended their goal drought but were beaten 3-2 at home by Eastleigh.

Chris Maguire's penalty and a brace by Paul McCallum had put the visitors 3-0 up before goals by Florent Hoti and Jordan Keane got Halifax to within touching distance of a point.

A patched-up Town, deprived of seven players, at least answered the question of where is the next goal coming from, but perhaps a more pertinent one is where is the next win coming from.

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Halifax are now without one in their last six and have only won once in their last ten.

The Shay Stadium, HalifaxThe Shay Stadium, Halifax
The Shay Stadium, Halifax

Two tough away trips lie ahead. Wins won't come easily there.

Sam Johnson kept out former Town team-mate Scott Quigley's shot from near the penalty spot 13 minutes in.

The same penalty spot from which Eastleigh then took a controversial lead.

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Town were incredulous when referee Paul Cooper awarded Eastleigh a penalty for a foul on McCallum that looked as soft as a hotel pillow.

But Maguire fired the spot-kick into the bottom left corner to give the league's lowest away scorers the lead with only their fourth goal on the road this season - equalling Town's tally at home.

If The Shaymen needed a goal already, they really needed one now.

Angelo Cappello brought a first save from Joe McDonnell just before the half-hour mark with a well-struck effort from the left of the box, but Halifax were toiling a little in their attempts to respond.

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Quigley fired just wide on the turn after Jack Evans was bundled off the ball, and then Paul McCallum headed straight at Sam Johnson after a sloppy pass by debutant Tom Wilson - one of three to come in as well as Hoti and Max Wright.

Eastleigh were a big side, aerially dominant, compact and difficult to break down.

There was little point in Town knocking it long towards Milli Alli against three centre-backs taller than him, so The Shaymen invariably tried to build from the back, but results were mixed at best.

For every attack that found a way to the final third, there was one that didn't make it out of the Halifax half thanks to sloppy passing.

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The hosts looked best attacking down the left through Ryan Galvin and Cappello, with the former setting up Hoti, whose shot was saved by Joe McDonnell.

Hoti then set-up Alli, who fired wide across goal from the left of the box.

Town's makeshift number nine then should then have done better with a header from Wright's cross six yards out.

The effort was there from Town, but the required quality and cutting edge still wasn't from a team with three blanks in their last four games.

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Tylor Golden's flailing arm of frustration at having to pass back to Johnson due to a lack of options ahead of him, amid groans from the home fans, articulated Town's problem.

Decent crossing positions had been squandered, decent chances not taken.

Halifax were then baying for Trent Randall to be sent-off for a strong tackle on Cappello just before half-time that Cooper punished with a booking.

If Cooper wasn't already guaranteed a hearty booing off at the break, that sealed it.

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Halifax built some real momentum after the break, with Hoti's curling shot bringing a fine save by McDonnell before Wilson headed just wide from the corner.

Hoti was then instrumental in a lovely move that ended with Alli's shooting over acrobatically on the stretch.

But Eastleigh got what looked a killer second goal when McCallum was left with a tap-in after Quigley's shot was saved, with Town left pleading in vain for a foul moments earlier.

If The Shaymen really needed a goal before, they really, really needed one now.

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The heavens opened at The Shay, it was raining goals for Eastleigh though as they doubled their season's tally away from home when McCallum slotted the ball past Johnson from inside the box after the visitors' wing-back Enzio Boldewijn had found it far too easy to slice through the Halifax defence with a mazy run.

There was at least the consolation of Halifax finally finding the net as they closed in on five hours without doing so as Hoti got the goal his performance deserved, finishing well from Alli's cut back.

"We've scored a goal!" sang the South Stand, tongue firmly in cheek.

Substitute Keane then hammered in a corner, with goals now like London buses at The Shay, but a third was beyond them.

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Halifax: Johnson, Golden, Wilson (Keane 74), Stott, Galvin, Hunter, Evans (Thomson-Sommers 64), Hoti, Wright (Oluwabori 74), Cappello, Alli. Subs not used: Scott, Iwobi

Scorers: Hoti (79), Keane (86)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 15

Corners: 12

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Langston, Francillette, Rendall, Clements, Antangana, Nwaboukei, Maguire, Boldewijn (Rutherford 77), Quigley, McCallum. Subs not used: Scott, Barlow, Yang, Chalwell.

Scorers: Maguire (19 pen), McCallum (55, 73)

Shots on target: 7

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 3

Attendance: 1,917

Referee: Paul Cooper

Town man of the match: Florent Hoti. Looked the only Town player capable, in the absence of Luke Summerfield, of playing a defence-splitting pass.