Torquay United 1-2 FC Halifax Town

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Second-half goals from Tobi Sho-Silva and Josh Staunton saw FC Halifax Town progress to the third round of the FA Trophy as they won 2-1 at Torquay United.

The Gulls got one back through Connor Lemonheigh-Evans to set-up a grandstand finish, but The Shaymen showed resilience to see the game ou and reach the third round.

A better side than Torquay may have been able to convert their first-half superiority into a goal, but Halifax dug deep and survived before turning the game on its head after the break.

It was no coincidence the pattern of the game saw the team playing with the wind be the more dominant, but Town stood firm in the opening 45 before taking full advantage, taking their chances after Torquay had failed to take theirs.

Pete Wild was forced into one change as Sho-Silva replaced the ill Jamie Allen.

Torquay started fairly well, and could have taken the lead had top-scorer Jamie Reid reacted better to a corner that fell to him unmarked at the far post.

Perhaps with the blustery conditions in mind, which were in their favour in the opening half, Torquay had tried a shot straight from the kick-off which Sam Johnson easily saved.

But the conditions, and the patchy pitch, did play a big part in a scrappy, attritional contest, with several players losing their footing on the slippery surface.

From a poor Torquay pass out of defence, Cameron King, Town’s liveliest player, burst forward and put a dangerous cross through the box but no team-mate could get on the end of it.

Charlie Cooper went close for Town when a corner broke to him 25 yards out, but his shot was deflected just over.

Torquay captain Asa Hall brought a decent save from Johnson midway through the first-half with a curling shot from range.Neither team was playing brilliantly well, with errors peppering the play on both sides as the game matched the grey, grim conditions.

The Gulls put that right though when a flowing move of one-touch football culminated in dangerman Reid getting sight of goal near the penalty spot but rolling the ball just wide of the far post.

Moments later, centre-back Kyle Cameron’s free header from a corner was well saved by Johnson at full-stretch as the hosts’ pressure started to build.

Torquay certainly looked the more creative team, playing more confidently, at a quicker tempo and winning more of the 50-50’s.

Far too often, Halifax turned over possession and bypassed midfield with hopeful long balls or necessary quick clearances to relieve pressure. There was more finesse about The Gulls, but no cutting edge.

Cameron King was lively in the number 10 role, but Jack Redshaw and Sho-Silva were isolated up-front, and could probably count their touches of the ball in the first-half on one hand.  
To book-end the half, another corner found its way over Johnson and the crowd in the middle of the box, but again Reid couldn’t react quickly enough to turn it in at the back post under pressure from a Town man.

The Shaymen had been committed and determined defensively, but it was one-way traffic, not helped by the wind blowing towards Johnson’s goal, and Town had been unable to break the pattern of Torquay dominance.

By half-time, the hosts had had 12 efforts on or off targets and 10 corners compared to Halifax’s sole effort and two corners.

Lemonheigh-Evans should have done better shortly after the restart when the ball found him in space on the edge of the box, but his tame shot was comfortably saved.

However, since the interval, the game had subtly changed with the wind, which was now at Town’s backs, helping the visitors to get a foothold in the contest and keep Torquay further away from their goal.

And with their first shot on target, Halifax took the lead when Redshaw’s low effort from an angle nicked Sho-Silva’s boot on it’s way across the box.

The Shaymen were far less passive now, winning possession and enjoying possession higher up the pitch.Nathan Clarke preserved their lead on the hour mark though when he cleared an effort off the line, seconds before Aaron Nemane’s low drive was deflected inches wide.

That proved crucial as, a few minutes later, Sho-Silva controlled a drilled cross and laid it off to Staunton, whose shot from 20 yards was deflected into the bottom corner with only Town’s second effort on target.

Pete Wild let out a huge roar of elation as Town threatened to move out of reach.

But that wasn’t the case as Lemonheigh-Evans capped a fine individual run with a low shot past Johnson near the corner of the six-yard box.

Torquay came close to forcing a replay when Reid’s header was tipped over and Ben Whitfield’s shot was drilled wide, but The Shaymen saw out a nervy last few minutes.

Torquay: Covolan, Cameron (Keating 75), Warren, Cundy, Lemonheigh-Evans, Nemane, Hall (Andrews 81), Lewis, Longridge, Reid, Whitfield. Subs not used: MacDonald, Niate, Koszela.
Scorer: Lemonheigh-Evans (72)

Shots on target: 9

Shots off target: 13

Corners: 14

Halifax: Johnson, Maher, Clarke, Brown, J King, Staunton, Cooper, Williams, C King (Duckworth 56), Sho-Silva, Redshaw (Southwell 86). Subs not used: Appleyard, Macdonald, Binnom-Williams. 
Scorers: Sho-Silva (55), Staunton (67)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 5

Attendance: 1,309 (29 away)

Referee: Scott Jackson
Town man of the match: Nathan Clarke