Vardy shows his talent

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Stocksbridge PS 1

Halifax Town 4

Man of the moment Jamie Vardy scored two goals in two minutes around the hour mark on his return to former club Stocksbridge.

And, with Huddersfield Town management duo Lee Clark and Terry McDermott watching on from the stands, he also set up the opener for Lee Gregory as the Shaymen made it two wins in two pre-season games.

Stocksbridge started brightly with Colin Marrison heading over from a free kick and the same player firing in a shot from distance.

At the other end Liam Needham played the ball through for Jack Dorney, but his low shot did not trouble home keeper Ben Scott.

Tom Baker’s dipping drive from 20 yards, after Aaron Hardy had played him in, went just over the bar.

Vardy did well to reach the ball on the left after 15 minutes and pull it back for Needham but his cross was headed off target by Hardy.

Town should have taken the lead after 17 minutes when Lee Gregory played a perfectly weighted pass through for Dorney, but he failed to get the connection he was looking for.

The Shaymen were starting to dominate, with Gregory holding the ball up well at the spearhead of the attack and Vardy linking well with Needham and Danny Lowe down the left.

Dorney forced the first real save of the night from Scott after 27 minutes when he let a left footer go from 25 yards, the keeper scrambling to his right to push it behind for a corner.

Vardy went on a decent run just past the half hour, ghosting past a couple of defenders before a disappointing shot rolled harmlessly wide.

Town went close from a Dorney corner soon after, the initial delivery was cleared and Gregory headed the second but into the keeper’s arms.

Vardy, having been warned for a lunging tackle, then flashed a right-footed shot across the face of goal and wide.

But a largely disappointing first half ended as it had begun with neither side able to find a way to goal.

Scott Hogan, Liam Hogan and Nicky Gray came on at the break, Anderson, Dorney and Hardy making way.

And Gray almost made the perfect return to action after a lengthy injury lay-off, weaving his way through the home defence within a couple of minutes of the restart before sending a shot that rebounded back off the foot of the post.

Within a minute the Shaymen were in front as Baker released Vardy on the left and he squared for Gregory who had the simplest of tasks to slide the ball into an unguarded net.

Andy Ring could have levelled a minute later but blazed an effort high over the bar from no more than eight yards.

The game opened up with Needham almost making something of a Vardy pass and Baker firing over from the edge of the area.

The second half was barely 10 minutes old when the home side made six substitutions in one go.

But it did them no good as the Shaymen doubled their lead on the hour, Gray taking a return pass from Gregory on the right and crossing for Vardy who headed home.

Within a minute Vardy bagged his second as Baker released Gregory on the right and he crossed low, although the in-demand Town man needed two goes to get the ball in the net.

Scott Hogan bagged a fourth with 20 minutes remaining, turning inside his defender and firing home after being played through by Gray.

And Gregory almost had a second soon after, sub keeper Dave Ratcliffe palming his well struck shot round the post.

Marrison pulled one back for Stocksbridge despite a good effort from Simon Eastwood, who got a hand to the shot, and Haggerty who required treatment after attempting to clear off the line.

He was unable to return, leaving the Shaymen, who had already sent back on Dorney for Baker, down to 10 men for the remainder of the game.

Vardy was denied a hat-trick with three minutes remaining when he was judged to have fouled Richard Haigh before firing home.

And Dorney almost put the icing n the cake after a mazy run, but his effort was palmed over the bar by the keeper.

Stocksbridge PS: Scott, Glarvey, Schofield, Haigh, Lovell, Cotton, Marrison, Telling, Muldoon, Ward, Ring. Subs: Blythen, Ellis, Brammer, Johnson, Thomas, Ratcliffe, Smith.

Halifax: Eastwood, Hardy, Lowe, Anderson, Haggerty, McManus, Vardy, Baker, Dorney, Gregory, Needham. Subs: L Hogan, S Hogan, Gray, Senior

Referee: Adam Burgess