Shaymen secure play-off spot with comfy Spitfires win.

By Jack Bunclark

HALIFAX Town booked their place in the Vanarama National League with a comfortable win at the Silverlake Stadium over an Eastleigh side with safety secured and little to play for.

It might have been a different story had Spitfire’s striker Paul McCallum’s first minute header not crashed against the cross bar.

But Halifax took the lead through Adam George’s scruffy finish, the lead was doubled by Jamie Cooke in the second half and Max Wright iced the cake for the Shaymen.

As the sun shone down on the Silverlake Stadium, the Shaymen’s promotion hopes were in the balance as Eastleigh stood in their way of a play-off position.

The Spitfires started the brighter with talisman Paul McCallum crashing the crossbar with a thumping header with only moments gone in the contest.

In the 14th minute, Andrew Oluwabori shot from a tight angle which was as flashy as his luminous green boots, Joe McDonnell made a smart bay to keep the Yorkshire side at bay.

Former Northern Irish international, Lee Hodgson, nearly left Halifax goalkeeper Sam Johnson red faced, and not because of the spring sun, as the defender’s teasing cross nearly caught the shot stopper out.

This was the Yorkshire side’s fourth game in a week and manager Chris Millington said his team’s biggest enemy would be fatigue, the amount of recent games played was telling as they made a sluggish start.

Out of nothing, a chaotic minute erupted in the match, Jack Evans’ heart must as been in his mouth as Eastleigh’s Solomon Nwabuokei charged him down as the Halifax midfielder was the last man.

Evans took the lot, man and ball, before starting the attack for Millington’s side which ended with a scruffy finish by Adan George which bobbled in off of the post.

The visitors lead and as it stood they were ready to rumble with the other play-off candidates in the post season of the National League.

Eastleigh’s response was electric, piling pressure on Johnson’s goal with McCallum having the best chance as he clattered a shot into a sea of grey shirts.

Halifax’s goalscorer, George, was the first in the book as he committed several fouls on the Eastleigh players.

Oluwabori thought that he doubled the away team’s lead but the raised offside flag was raised to halt the celebrations from the fans that travelled down to the South Coast.

After the restart, McCallum’s shot crawled inches wide of the post as he trapped the ball, swivelled and released an effort that had Johnson glued to his goal line.

Kelvin Davis made the first substitution of the game as Scott Quigley gave way to fan favourite Chris Maguire, due to injury, just before the hour mark.

Minutes later, Jamie Cooke’s clinical finish doubled Halifax’s lead with a thunderous strike which flew passed McDonnell in the Eastleigh goal to send the away fans into pandemonium.

Corey Panter spared Maguire’s blushes as the defender stopped Oluwabori from wrapping up the contest for the visitors with an excellent piece of defending in a two against one situation.

Panter was then booked for a deliberate holding on his marker which stopped an away attack after a poor pass to the Eastleigh player by Nwabuokei.

Max Wright then put the icing on top of the cake with a fantastic strike from range to secure that Halifax crept into the play-off spots with an 3-0 emphatic victory at the hands of Eastleigh.