Torquay United 2-3 FC Halifax Town: Slew brace helps Shaymen back to winning ways
Two brilliant goals from Jordan Slew and another for Billy Waters saw FC Halifax Town return to winning ways as they beat Torquay United 3-2.
Every time Halifax have lost this season, which isn't often, they've bounced back immediately with a win and did so again here.
Town shaded the first-half and led from it through Slew's 25-yard strike, before accelerating away from a pedestrian home side after the interval thanks to another Slew goal and former Gulls forward Waters' 13th of the season.
Late goals from Klaidi Lolos and Armani Little had Town hanging on at the end, transforming it from a comfortable win to a narrow win, but hang on they did.
Sam Johnson reacted well to tip Alex Wynter's shot behind amid a decent start by Torquay, which didn't last long.
The hosts' keeper Shaun MacDonald produced even better stops to first keep out Matty Warburton's wind-assisted shot and then Billy Waters' follow-up.
Astonishing double save by the Torquay keeper first from Warburton’s shot from range then Waters’ follow up
Defender Joe Lewis headed straight at Johnson from corner but the better chances were falling Halifax's way, with the visitors finding their feet and coming more into the contest.
Jack Vale did well to keep a long pass in play and dig out a cross, from which Slew's effort was again kept out by MacDonald.
Waters was next to go close, against his old club, when he volleyed over from Vale's cross.
Torquay weren't heeding the warnings, and were finally breached when Slew's magnificent right-footed shot flew into the bottom left corner from 25 yards.
Torquay regressed further after Slew's goal, which seemed to sap them of any drive. They stood off Town, letting them have the ball with no pressure, and were very flat in possession.
The lively Dan Martin's overhead kick was easily saved by Johnson just before half-time, but the hosts were struggling to impose themselves.
Halifax had looked increasingly comfortable as the opening half progressed, with more space for the likes of Kian Spence, Kieran Green and Matty Warburton to stamp their mark on the match.
Slew certainly hadn't had any problem making his presence felt, and he scored another belter a minute after the restart when his right footed rising drive blasted into the top corner.
Now Town were really enjoying themselves, and just to rub their hosts' noses in it, Waters was next to find the net when a shot by Spence was parried by the keeper, and the former Torquay man was well placed to turn in the rebound from an angle.
If the door had been ajar at half-time, it was now off its hinges. Town looked elated, like they could run all night, Torquay looked deflated, like they couldn't wait for it to end.
The hosts tried to make a game of it but it they just seemed to be going through the motions, producing the odd shot from outside the box but nothing more. They'd at least managed to stop the rot at 3-0, but Town had taken their foot off the gas a little too, content to sit in and try to hit the hosts on the break.
The impressive Vale's last act was to hit the post with a low shot across goal, with The Shaymen looking likelier to find the net next.
It could hardly have been more comfortable for Town if they'd been sitting in deck chairs sipping Pina Coladas.
But within the space of two minutes, substitute Lolos, with a low shot from the corner of the six-yard box, and Little, with a shot from range that Johnson spilled into the net, had somehow brought the prospect of a hugely unlikely point into view for Torquay.
It made for a nervy finish, and one which was not on the cards five minutes before, but Town held on for a deserved win.
Torquay: McDonald, Wynter, Lewis, Perritt (O'Connell 61), Moxey (Holman 54), Little, Hall (Lolos 70), Lapslie, Lemonheigh-Evans, Martin, Armstrong. Subs not used: Halstead, Andrews.
Scorers: Lolos (90), Little (90)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 6
Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Debrah, Senior, Green, Spence (Woods 82), Slew, Warburton (Summerfield 68), Vale (Newby 76), Waters. Subs not used: Gilmour, Swaby-Neavin
Scorers: Slew (30, 46), Waters (50)
Shots on target: 9
Shots off target: 9
Referee: Ryan Atkin
Attendance: 2,269 (76 away)
Town man of the match: Has to be Sleeeeeeew after his two stunning strikes. He could have had a hat-trick, and contributed in other ways to an excellent team performance.