FC Halifax Town 2 v 0 Luton Town (Skrill Conference)
FC Halifax Town welcomed champions elect Luton Town to the Shay this afternoon along with 1,000 visiting supporters who had made the long journey from Bedfordshire to see this top of the table clash. Neil Aspin’s men were looking to make it five wins in a row following their mid-week victory over Alfreton.
The Shaymen started brilliantly and straight from the kick-off James Bolton chipped forward a lovely ball for Lee Gregory who was fouled by Steve McNulty. The resulting freekick from Paul Marshall was diverted wide and from the corner Mark Tyler saved a Marc Roberts header.
Adam Smith gave a man of match like performance with some excellent wing play as FC Halifax put the visitors under some early pressure. That pressure told on eighteen minutes following an excellent Marshall through ball Adam Smith glided into the area, but his chipped cross just evaded everyone and Luton were forced to concede a corner.
The resulting Smith corner was headed behind by a Luton player at the back post whilst under pressure from Lee Gregory, however the second corner from Smith was this time met by the head of Marc Roberts who headed the ball down and into the Luton goal despite the best efforts of Pelly Ruddock Mpanzi to give FC Halifax a 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to bring Luton to life and they had a series of corners themselves, one of which fell at the feet of Andre Gray who could not get a shot away and FC Halifax managed to scramble the ball clear. Luton then had a number of shots from Andre Gray, Alex Lawless and Paul Benson before the Shaymen’s defence started to get on top of the Hatters.
Lee Gregory’s first sight of goal came in the thirty-six minutes, straight from a Matt Glennon long free-kick, Gregory’s control was impeccable in the box, firstly turned one way and then the other before having his shot blocked and cleared by Fraser Franks.
Adam Smith continued to cause trouble to the Luton Town back four with his pace and crossing into the box. FC Halifax tried to double their lead with an excellent team move that was started by Lee Gregory, his via McManus, found its way to Adam Smith but his cross was cleared only as far a Ryan Crowther who sent a right footed shot whistling wide of the post.
It was Luton Town who had the final two chances of the half, the first effort fell to Paul Benson who missed an excellent one-on-one to bring his team level, but he could only put his shot wide whilst under pressure from Marc Roberts.
The second effort was Andre Gray’s first real sniff at goal and it came in the last minute of the half, Gray muscled his way past Scott McManus and Simon Ainge before shaping to shoot on his favoured left foot, but instead of shooting he moved the ball to his right foot and spooned the shot high and wide.
At the start of the second half both defences were on top and the game was mainly played out in the midfield area, the first fifteen minutes there was only one real clear cut chance which fell to Andre Gray but his effort went well over the FC Halifax crossbar.
The game started to pick up on the hour mark when Simon Ainge tried a hopeful looped through ball from the back towards Lee Gregory. The Halifax captain took the ball around the Luton goalkeeper first time with his head, but he failed to convert his chance from a very tight angle.
Just eight minutes later a nothing pass was turned into a cutting through ball, as McNulty missed the ball which ran through to Lee Gregory. The centre forward latched onto the ball and went passed the Luton defender Franks with a few step-overs before slotting the ball low into the bottom right corner to give Halifax a 2-0 lead.
FC Halifax continued to press the Luton Town goal, with both Matty Pearson and Adam Smith having shots blocked in a penalty area scramble, moments later Pearson unleashed an excellent shot which was well held by the Luton goalkeeper Tyler.
Speaking after the game FC Halifax goalkeeper Matt Glennon said, “The back four have been fantastic this year under my direction of course! They have made blocks and headers all season and today I haven’t had to make save. It was a good performance today because they’re a very good side and top of the league.
They’re a big physical strong side, already on 80 points and today it could have been upwards of three, four or five nil with the chances we created. We have limited them to absolutely nothing and I think it was probably the quietest game I have had since I joined the club. It was a fantastic performance.”
FC Halifax – Glennon, Bolton, Roberts, Ainge, McManus, Pearson, Maynard, Smith, Marshall, Crowther, Gregory (Subs) Senior, Wilson, Jackson, Smith, Lowe
Luton Town – Tyler, Ruddock-Mpanzu, Franks, Henry, Griffith, McNulty, Lawless, McGeehan, Robinson Benson Gray (Subs) Charles, Rooney, Justham, Shaw, Cullen
Goals – (FC Halifax) Roberts (18), Gregory (69)
Attendance – 3,586