Maidstone 0-1 FC Halifax Town

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Scott Quigley scored FC Halifax Town’s first goal in just under nine hours to seal their first win in 10 games as they beat Maidstone 1-0.

On the day before the first anniversary of his appointment, Jamie Fullarton finally found a winning formula as The Shaymen got back on track.

They’re now up to 15th and five points clear of the bottom four.

Both sides came into the game in desperate need of a victory, with only one league win between them in 2019.

And it showed.

It wasn’t pretty at times, but Town persevered and capped an excellent last 15 minutes to grab a precious three points.

A cagey start was stopped altogether for around five minutes when Maidstone keeper Dion-Curtis Henry was forced off after a collision with Dayle Southwell, and replaced by goalkeeping-coach, and debutant, Chris Lewington.

Shortly after that, Sam Johnson was called into action to save from Justin Amaluzor’s curling 25-yard shot.

Southwell - one of two changes for Town, with him and James Hardy replacing Quigley and Jordan Preston - then limped off, replaced by Quigley.

Once play resumed in earnest, it was of little consequence, with both sides reluctant to or unable to produce cohesive, fluent football.

Hardy showed good close control to work some space when Town’s first corner was cleared, but his shot was saved by Lewington.

But neither team played much different from how their form would have suggested, with little finesse or style.

Town showed some attacking intent, pushing Matty Kosylo and Ben Tomlinson high up the pitch, and Hardy trying to link up play, but created no clear-cut chances.

There were a couple of nervy moments for Halifax when Matty Brown headed Elliott Romain’s header back across goal out of danger before Nathan Clarke put his body on the line to block Jake Cassidy’s goal-bound shot.

Romain’s cross then eventually found Michael Phillips, whose low drive whistled across goal and narrowly wide.

By half-time, Tomlinson had also been forced off, replaced by Preston.

Maidstone, like Aldershot, were a limited opponent, physically strong and industrious, but not possessing enough attacking quality and making too many sloppy mistakes.

But Town hadn’t offered a marked improvement from Saturday, defending well but still frustratingly lacking a spark going forward and showing no real signs of finding the net.

Neither side had seized control of the contest, and neither had done enough to deserve a lead.

The hosts attacked with more purpose after the restart though, with Jack Powell lashing a shot wide from 20 yards before a dangerous header across goal by Cassidy from a high diagonal cross mercifully made its way to Sam Johnson.

Amaluzor fired wide after cutting in on his left foot, with Town repeatedly losing possession when they tried to go forward.

Reminiscent of Warrington away in the FA Cup, a defensive mistake looked to have gifted Town the break they needed, but when Kosylo pounced on a loose pass and set-up Quigley one-on-one with Lewington, the striker fired wastefully straight at the keeper.

Right-back Dan Meredith’s curling effort from 20 yards was saved by Johnson, while Romain flashed a shot wide, but the lack of quality from both sides was telling.

Clarke then hit the post with a thumping header from a corner before Matty Brown headed another corner wide as the game started to open up.

Town finished the game strongly, with Clarke heading a corner wide and substitute Jonathan Edwards driving a low shot wide after a lightning quick counter-attack.

But the barren run was finally ended when Quigley gobbled up a chance from Kosylo’s ball across the box, driving the ball into the far corner from eight yards.

It could have been more, but Preston’s first time shot crashed off the bar from Quigley’s cut-back.

But let’s not be greedy.

Maidstone: Henry (Lewington 15), Meredith, Davies, de Haviland, McLennan, Powell, Phillips, Donnellan (Edobor 46), Amaluzor, Romain (Robinson 81), Cassidy. Subs not used: Muldoon, Paxman.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 3

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Sellers, Maher, Berrett, Tomlinson (Preston 41), Hardy (Edwards 79), Kosylo, Southwell (Quigley 20). Subs not used: Rowley, Staunton.

Scorer: Quigley (87)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 6

Attendance: 1,813

Referee: Paul Howard

Town man of the match: Nathan Clarke