Histon v Town - Shaw bags fine winner

Histon 1 Halifax Town 2

JON Shaw bagged his 11th goal of the season to send Town through to the fifth round of the Setanta Shield.

And the quality of the winning goal really lit up a low key clash at the Glassworld Stadium.

Both sides fielded strong line-ups - as dictated by the competition rules - and Town will take plenty of encouragement from the fact that they dominated a side currently seventh in the table, level on points with fifth placed Burton.

And another away win - following on from victories at Stevenage in the league and Farsley in the county cup - can only be good as the Shaymen face trips to Farsley and Salisbury before returning home on New Year's Day.

A dour opening spell was livened up by a clash between Antonio Murray and Rob Scott which left the Town defender flat on the floor and the Histon man in the referee's notebook

But there was precious little in the way of goalmouth action at either end. A cleared Steve Torpey corner was the best the Shaymen could muster while Craig Mawson raced from his area to clear as Danny Wright threatened to get through the middle.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 18th minute after Matthew Mitchell-King had fouled Darryn Stamp just outside the area.

Nicky Gray touched the free kick short for Torpey whose left foot shot was deflected into the Histon net by a defender.

Moments later Torpey's cross just eluded Darryn Stamp in the middle and Gray could only turn the ball onto the roof of the net from a tight angle on the right.

Histon's only real threat came from Gareth Gwillim's long throw-ins and they levelled from one after 25 minutes.

Nathaniel Knight-Percival was allowed to flick the ball on at the near post and Murray had the simplest of tasks to nod home from close range.

A couple of minutes later Jamie Barker fired over from distance, while at the other end Torpey did well to cross deep from the left but Gray could only direct his far post volley over the bar.

The second half was a vast improvement on the first with Town dominating for long periods as they looked to regain the advantage.

Anthony Griffith did well to win the ball back in the middle of the park and find Gray whose cross was just claimed by the keeper, and Shaw's clever pass down the line enabled Torpey to win another corner.

Torpey took the kick himself and when the ball arrived at Shaw's feet he hammered in a shot that was blocked. The stand-in skipper was first to the rebound, but fired over.

Three minutes later a long ball down field skimmed off Matthew Langton's head, allowing Shaw a run on goal, but Naisbitt did well to get his hand to the ball as the Town striker tried to lift it over him.

The Shaymen continued to make all the running with Ryan Toulson raiding well down the right and when his cross picked out Shaw, the frontman fired in a shot on the turn.Appeals for a penalty were waved away, although the ball appeared to strike a defender on the arm, and from the rebound substitute Daryl Taylor spooned the ball over the top.

The breakthrough finally arrived in the 64th minute from a well worked move down the right.

Stamp found Taylor who laid the ball off for Toulson. His cross was inch perfect as it was met at the near post by Shaw, whose glancing effort left the ball nestling in side the left hand post.

The Shaymen continued to dominate and had a couple of good chances to add to their lead.

Shaw found Taylor wide on the right and sent over a low cross that was aimed at Torpey, but the winger was denied a shooting opportunity by an important touch by defender Patrick Ada.

Two minutes later Taylor released Griffith on the right of the area. The midfielder's initial shot was parried by Naisbitt and Stamp was unable to turn the rebound home from close range.

Histon had a couple of late opportunities to put pressure on Town's defence, but an Adrian Cambridge cross was deflected behind and Craig Mawson did well to claim the resulting Gwillim corner.

Town still had a chance to bag a third goal when, four minutes from time, Simon Heslop unleashed one his trademark long range efforts, but despite the ball taking a deflection Naisbitt was able to get down to his left to save.