FC Halifax Town 4-2 Grimsby Town
Billy Whitehouse scored on his debut has FC Halifax Town climbed out of the relegation zone with a convincing victory at The Shay.
After suffering defeat for the first time under Jim Harvey’s management last weekend, Halifax responded exceptionally against third placed Grimsby.
The reverse fixture in this season’s National League saw Halifax humbled 7-0 by their Lincolnshire opponents.
After just 30 minutes Town led 3-0 and the home crowd were hoping for a role reversal from the last time these sides met with cries of “we want seven”.
Whitehouse made his first start for the Shaymen and the midfielder had an instant impact, scoring in the opening stages of the match.
Kingsley James hit a long ball to find James Bolton who had time to pick out an unmarked Whithouse – the Doncaster loanee comfortably side-footing home from inside the area.
Grimsby fought back and created their best chance of the match, only for Josh Gowling’s effort to be cleared off the line by Kevin Roberts.
James was again involved as he squared the ball to Nicky Wroe who tapped in the host’s second. James powered forward unopposed on the left before coming inside to find Wroe for his fourth goal of the season.
Scott McManus’s corner was met by James Bolton to head home Town’s third minutes later. This sparked anger from the travelling supporters behind the goal, though the large police presence was able to maintain order.
The Shay’s highest home attendance of the campaign was treated to a six goal thriller – one that will live in the memory of Town fans for years to come.
Although the Grimsby fans outnumbered their hosts, it was the Fax supporters making most of the noise by this stage.
Substitute Jordan Burrow came agonisingly close to adding a fourth on 75 minutes as Halifax continued to pose a threat on the counter.
Ryan Jennings joined the Mariners on loan from Wigan Athletic earlier this week and proved largely ineffective in what was a testing afternoon for the young winger on his first start for his new club.
Grimsby striker Andy Monkhouse was brought off midway through the second half who was starved of a clear sight on goal all afternoon.
Halifax’s five man defensive line held strong throughout, limiting the Mariners to very few opportunities.
The away side’s top scorer Padraig Amond bundled home a late consolation goal late on, as did Joe Nolan who drilled into the bottom right corner of the Halifax goal.
These two efforts either side of a stunning Jake Hibbs goal did nothing to lift the mood of the 1,767 away supporters as Grimsby players and fans exchanged heated discussions after the full time whistle.
During his post match press conference, Grimsby boss Paul Hurst alluded to a racial insult directed at one of his players by someone standing in the visitors section of the ground.
Hibbs struck home a free-kick from 25 yards out on 88 minutes, topping off what was a fantastic day for the hosts.
Grimsby’s six year absence from the Football League may soon be over, but promotion will now almost certainly come via the play-offs.
The Mariners host mid-table Woking on Tuesday evening while Jim Harvey’s men head to Braintree Town in midweek, hoping to further distance themselves from the relegation zone.
Man of the Match: James Bolton
Halifax Town: Johnson, Brown, Bencherif, Bolton, Mcmanus, Roberts, Wroe (McDonald), James, Whitehouse, MacDonald (Hibbs), Peniket (Burrow)
Subs not used: Porter, Walker
Grimsby Town: Mckeown, Tait, Robertson, Gowling, Bogle (Prittman), Amond, Monkhouse (Arnold), Clay, Nsiala, Nolan, Jennings (Straker)
Subs not used: Pearson, Horwood
Referee: John Brooks
Attendance: 3,131 (1,767 away)