Northwich Victoria 0 FC Halifax Town 3: Shaymen cruise to Vics win

Town proved what a champion side they are as they put the disappointment of defeat at Colwyn Bay behind them to record an emphatic victory in Cheshire.

And with their north Wales rivals losing, the win put Neil Aspin's side nine points clear at the top of the Evo Stik Premier once again.

It was an impressive effort from the Shaymen, who have yet to lose two league games in a row under Aspin.

First half goals from James Dean and Lee Gregory put Neil Aspin's side in the driving seat and a second half strike from the outstanding Tom Baker made the game safe.

And when the home side did manage to get through they found Jonathan Hedge in such good form that he would not be beaten, even from the penalty spot.

Northwich forced the first corner of the game - former Shayman Mark Peers took and Lee Gregory cleared - and had the first shot, an Ollie Ryan effort that almost slipped through Hedge's fingers.

The home side had another good chance after nine minutes when Stuart Wellstead fed Ryan on the right and he had a couple of teammates in the box to aim for but hit first defender Liam Hogan.

Town had been forced to defend for much of the opening 15 minutes but struck the first blow in the 16th when Aaron Hardy sent a diagonal ball goalwards from halfway.

It should have been dealt with by Mike Byron and home keeper James Spencer, but James Dean capitalised on their hesitancy, sliding in and forcing the ball home.

Jamie Vardy had a run down the left a minute later and cut the ball in low, but on this occasion Dean, who had a couple of bites at it, was unable to get a firm connection.

The home keeper had another scare midway through the first half when, after the Vics had repelled a couple of crosses, Scott Phelan sent the ball in from the right and skimmed the top of the bar.

The Shaymen should have doubled their advantage on the half hour after Baker's crossfield pass had released Vardy down the left.

He got in a great position to pick out Gregory in the box, but the former Mansfield man could not direct his touch goalwards.

Gregory made amends eight minutes later after a sweeping Town move which started with Dean's ball wide for Phelan. He crossed low from the right and Gregory slid in to make it 2-0 from close range.

Hedge did well three minutes later when Andy Fowler fed Wayne Riley, the Town keeper staying big to make the save.

Vics had the first chance of the second period when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards out, but Hedge tipped Peers's effort over the bar.

And the Town keeper produced the save of the game after 52 minutes when Peers crossed in from the right and Byron headed goalwards.

The ball was destined for the back of the net until Hedge dived full length to his right and somehow got a hand on it.

Byron was in action at the other end moments later, clearing behind from a Vardy cross after he had been set free by Simon Garner.

The home side failed to clear the resulting corner and when Dean looped the ball into the danger zone Gregory got his head to it, but David Thompson was there to clear.

Five minutes later Vardy tormented the Vics defence on the left before cutting inside and firing a low shot wide off the base of the post.

The Shaymen eventually added to their tally after 66 minutes when Gregory played the ball into the box for Dean to touch it to Baker, who slammed home low from 15 yards.

Baker almost had a second four minutes later but his acrobatic effort, from a Phelan cross, went straight into the keeper's arms.

Peers had a free kick saved by Hedge and Wellstead sliced an effort well wide as the Vics made a token effort to get back into the game.

And McAliskey turned well 25 yards out and fired in a shot that was comfortably turned round the post by the Town keeper.

The home side were handed a great chance to pull one back after 77 minutes when Baker was judged to have handled from the resulting corner, but Hedge dived to his right to save Riley's spot kick.

Town sparked back into life in the 81st minute when Dean turned the ball round the corner for Vardy, who played a great pass in to Gregory, but his shot was saved.

It mattered little as Town saw out the rest of the game with ease to get back to winning ways.