FC Halifax Town 0 Charlton 4 (Taylor 40, Jackson 80, Hollands 82, Pritchard 90).
Kevin Nolan reports from The Shay.
The conditions were ideal for a Cup upset in Halifax at lunchtime on Sunday. A chilling mist hung over the old mill town, the battered stadium offered little comfort and a slippery, treacherous pitch, the locals practically licked their lips at the prospect of getting stuck into a bunch of over-privileged posers from the South. Not only that, TV was on hand to document their humiliation. We've been there before.
Two years ago, Charlton made laughing stocks of themselves at Northwich Victoria, again in front of a national TV audience. The only survivor from that fiasco is Scott Wagstaff, an academy graduate who departed Cheshire on that dismal day with no apology necessary. Wagstaff was part of the starting line-up at The Shay and duly did his wholehearted bit among a hardbitten group of Addicks, most of them Southerners, who put Halifax and their loquacious manager Neil Aspill in their place. History was not about to be repeated.
Not that it was easy and not that the West Yorkshiremen didn't emerge with credit from a tie which remained competitive until the visitors broke it open with three goals in the last ten minutes. But it was hard to escape the impression that the Addicks always had something in hand on their way to winning with the least possible fuss. It's tough to dispute 4-0, though Aspill, an ex-Leeds player with previous against Charlton, did his myopic best.
Urged on by their hardy faithful, the Shaymen shared the first half, emerging from it slightly unlucky to be a goal down. It's true, though, that their situation might have been far worse had Charlton converted one or two more of the chances they created. Home goalkeeper Simon Eastwood performed heroically in denying the first of them, his outstretched left leg blocking the close range header, with which Matthew Taylor met Johnnie Jackson's outswinging corner.
That nugget of a right back, Chris Solly, was combining intuitively with his mucker Wagstaff, their quickfire exchange of passes setting up the winger to cross from the byline. Shooting on the turn, Paul Hayes was bravely blocked by Ryan Toulson. Hayes should have done better minutes later but stabbed tamely wide after Cedric Evina, an impressive deputy for Rhoys Wiggins, cut through to centre from the left.
Having earned promotion in their last two campaigns, Town are clearly a club on the rise. They kept the ball on the ground, passed and moved intelligently, made chances themselves. Mobile striker Lee Gregory curled a clever effort narrowly wide then, moments before the interval, their influential skipper Tom Baker shaved the bar from 30 yards. Unfortunately for Aspill's sturdy side, they had already fallen behind a minute before Baker's near miss.
A careless foul by Baker on Danny Hollands in the centre circle sent Taylor up to try his luck. Still upfield as the free kick was partially cleared, the centre back was positioned at the far post to meet Hayes' deep cross and claimed his first goal for the club by looping a perfectly aimed header back over Eastwood into the opposite corner.
Possibly nettled by the setback, Halifax began the second period brightly, with Jamie Rainford's quickwitted snapshot sending John Sullivan into full-length action to save. Hayes replied for the visitors but sent an improvised chip inches over the bar.
The 62nd introduction of speedy left winger Jason St. Juste (fine old Yorkshire name that one, possibly one of the Castle Howard St. Justes) in place of Danny Holland, boosted home prospects. On his lively duel with the imperturbable Solly rested the outcome of the tie and he started by skinning his rival and crossing on the run but Gregory was unable to make telling contact at the near post. Solly wasn't having any more of that, of course, his marvellous tackle on St. Juste and subsequent key interception keeping the newcomer comparatively quiet. No offence intended to ITV's excellent man-of-the-match Taylor but Solly quite clearly stood out.
The Shaymen, meanwhile, were still in contention until, with 10 minutes remaining, they collapsed. Worn down by Charlton's painstaking possession, they were easy prey to Jackson's typically crisp low drive and Hollands' point blank flick but it was the Addicks' fourth goal which pleased the bench most. Mind you, their hosts were down to 10 men by that time, defender Danny Lowe having seen red for a vicious challenge on Wagstaff.
Brought on as part of a flurry of substitutions, among them the 86th minute arrival of Bradley Wright-Phillips which neatly cup-ties the coveted goalscorer, Bradley Pritchard made up for time lost to untimely injury by turning sharply on to a low pass from fellow replacement Michael Smith to shoot through Eastwood's legs. Both he and Smith show promise.
So the Addicks sauntered to the line and a second round clash at home to Carlisle United. Maybe the scoreline flattered them but that quibble rather misses the point. There was no way they were about to lose this game, not this Chris Powell-inspired side. FC Halifax, fair play to them, were ruthlessly seen off. Simple and cold-blooded as that, really.
FC Halifax: Eastwood, Toulson, Hogan, Lowe, McManus, Rainford (Anderson 87), Baker, Hardy, Garner (Winter 73), Holland (St. Juste 62), Gregory. Not used: Senior, Needham, Foster, Scott Hogan.
Charlton: Sullivan, Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Evina, Wagstaff, Hollands (Pritchard 87), Hughes, Jackson, Hayes (Wright-Phillips 86), Hayes (Smith 87). Not used: Hamer, Doherty, Wiggins, Green.
Referee: G. Elringham. Att: 4,601.