Wealdstone 1-2 FC Halifax Town: Goals from Hyde and Earing seal crucial win for Shaymen
Second half goals from Jack Earing and Jake Hyde saw FC Halifax Town record a crucial 2-1 win at Wealdstone for their play-off hopes.
Dennon Lewis had put the home side in-front, but Town were the dominant team throughout and would have been grossly unjustified with any other result than three points.
They had to work hard for it through a combination of wasteful finishing and Wealdstone's resilience, but got there in the end.
Town were bright and purposeful from the off, with Earing and Kieran Green popping the ball about sharply and Jeff King making some good runs down the right, with Pete Wild reverting to 3-5-2.
After Tahvon Campbell's shot was blocked, possession was maintained and eventually Earing's cross was volleyed wide at the far post by Jack Senior.
Only a superb reaction save by Harry Istead prevented Hyde's flicked shot from putting Town ahead after 10 minutes from King's right wing cross.
The Shaymen were good to watch, passing with confidence, offering good movement and pressing with real energy to regain possession.
Up-front, Tahvon Campbell offered good close control and looked lively, while Jake Hyde was an effective aerial presence and link to midfield.
Istead produced another good save from Senior's drive 20 minutes in; a very encouraging 20 minutes for the visitors.
Campbell fired across goal and wide 25 minutes in as Town continued to look a real threat.
If Hartlepool had been more about restricting the opposition, this was more about Town flexing their attacking muscles.
Wealdstone were lacking a cutting edge, lost most of the 50-50s and looked a little unsettled by The Shaymen's intensity.
The hosts rarely got in-behind the Town defence, produced very few crosses and struggled to maintain possession.
So it was against the run of play when Lewis took down Danny Green's pass with a lovely first touch, evading his nearest marker Niall Maher and then swept the ball into the far corner with a frustratingly delightful finish.
But for all Town's promising play and decent chances, they had again failed to keep a clean sheet and again conceded first.
Hyde headed in from a Town free-kick a few minutes before half-time but was flagged offside, and then Campbell's shot on the turn was saved by Istead as Town again and again cut through Wealdstone down the right channel through King, but couldn't find the net.
Hyde headed a cross from the left a couple of yards off target a minute after the restart, shortly before Martin Woods' low free-kick was easily held by Istead.
Different half, same pattern.
Time and again Town regained possession, mostly through the tenacity of Green, but repeatedly failed to take advantage.
Wealdstone were second best, with Halifax snapping around them.
"Come on boys, it's coming," yelled Hyde, and a minute or so later, he stooped to head in King's cross from the right, and deservedly bring Town level.
Only a crucial clearance by Jerome Okimo prevented Hyde connecting with King's cross as the duo threatened to team up again for the visitors, who were quicker, sharper and stronger than Wealdstone.
The best that could be said about the hosts was their two centre-backs, Okimo and Jack Cawley, were both superb in keeping Halifax at bay. But it felt like only a matter of time until Town completed the turnaround.
Green nearly capped an excellent display with a fantastic clipped shot that drifted over Istead but came back off the crossbar.
But finally, finally, Town's pressure told as Earing worked the ball onto his right foot and curled a wonderful shot, similar to Lewis' opener, into the same far corner, grabbing the goal his performance merited.
And with Halifax's 16th effort of the day, justice was done.
Ashley Charles nearly broke Town hearts with a free-kick that flashed just wide with only Wealdstone's third effort of the day.
Neill Byrne almost sealed the win but his shot was tipped behind by the impressive Istead.
Substitute Dan Bowry was then dismissed in added time for a late tackle on Earing, compounding the hosts' frustrations after the referee had turned down their appeals for a penalty a couple of minutes earlier.
Wealdstone: Istead, Phillips, Okimo, Cawley, Wishart (Bowry 43), Charles, Dyer, Green, Mendy, Lewis (Lafayette 71), Parish (Hughes 80). Subs not used: Askew, Hearn.
Scorer: Lewis (30)
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 3
Halifax: Town team - Johnson, King (Allen 74), Byrne, Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Woods, Green, Earing, Hyde (Tear 90), Campbell (Chadwick 58). Subs not used: Renshaw, Benn.
Scorers: Hyde (58), Earing (82)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 11
Referee: Tom Bishop
Town man of the match: Kieran Green. Full of energy and tenacity in the heart of the midfield and so nearly found the net too.