The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Daniel Dar­ling­ton

JOSH KELLY net­ted twice as Maiden­head United pro­duced a blis­ter­ing first half dis­play to bring down high-fly­ing FC Hal­i­fax.

The Shay­men ar­rived at York Road fifth in the ta­ble, and off the back of im­pres­sive dis­plays against Sut­ton United and Wrex­ham in re­cent weeks, but this was a re­al­ity check for Jamie Fullar­ton’s side.

In what was prob­a­bly their best half of foot­ball since gain­ing pro­mo­tion to the National League, Maiden­head sim­ply blew their op­po­nents away. Kelly scored the side’s first in the 12th minute, hold­ing off his marker to head home James Comley’s cross from the right.

For the sec­ond in the 18th minute, Kelly was the provider, creat­ing space on the left for a cut back that Adrian Clifton thumped home on his re­turn from in­ter­na­tional duty with Montser­rat.

The hosts third ar­rived in the 36th minute. Again the front pair were in sync as Clifton headed the ball on for Kelly, who kept his cool to beat Sam John­son with a low fin­ish.

A de­lighted Alan Devon­shire said: “What we worked on in train­ing, we’ve done on the pitch. We’ve played some great stuff in the first half and were so quick and sharp.

“That was a re­ally good per­for­mance. We’ve coped with the in­juries we’ve had to­day as well, and I don’t think Carl (Pent­ney) has had to make a save. If you’d said we’d beat Hal­i­fax 3-0, who have drawn against three big teams in the last few weeks, I’d have taken that. We blew them away.” Fullar­ton, the Hal­i­fax man­ager, added: “I don’t think it’s un­for­tu­nate. I don’t think we de­served any­thing bet­ter than what we got to­day. I think it shows in this league, if you don’t start cor­rectly and give cheap goals away, you can’t ex­pect to win games. “We’re dis­ap­pointed, frus­trated, laced with a lit­tle bit of anger, but you can’t say it was un­for­tu­nate.” The vis­i­tors man­aged only one shot on tar­get in the first half, a tame ef­fort from Jor­dan Pre­ston in the 45th minute that Carl Pent­ney was able to fall upon. If the first half was one-way traf­fic for the Mag­pies, the sec­ond was more even but, de­spite see­ing more of the ball, Hal­i­fax cre­ated lit­tle. Ayo Obil­eye blocked well af­ter a nice turn and shot from Pre­ston in the 55th minute, and Pre­ston caused an­other mo­ment of panic when his cross flashed dan­ger­ously across the Mag­pies’ area in the 76th minute. But Hal­i­fax were held at arm’s length by a welldrilled Mag­pies’ back-four. United saw Obil­eye sent off for a sec­ond book­able of­fence with a few min­utes to go, the de­fender catch­ing Jonathan Ed­wards as he dashed for­ward, but the home side saw the game out well.

STAR MAN: Josh Kelly (Maiden­head) ATT: 1,306 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Lloyd Wood 5/10

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