Halifax was shrouded in mist yesterday lunch-time but League One leaders Charlton Athletic did not lose their way here, despite a spirited performance from Neil Aspin's Blue Square North side.
The presence of FC Halifax Town in the first round for the first time since their rebirth after liquidation in 2008 drew a 4,601 crowd – a record for the "new Halifax" – but the upset most of those present were hoping for did not occur. Instead, in-form Charlton avoided a repeat of their first-round defeat at Northwich Victoria two years ago, taking the lead through Matt Taylor just before half-time, then adding three late strikes through Johnnie Jackson, Danny Hollands and Bradley Pritchard, to book a second-round home tie against Carlisle United.
The scoreline was harsh on Halifax, who for 80 minutes gave a real game to opponents from three divisions higher. "Although 4-0 sounds a bit of a drubbing, on reflection of the game it wasn't that at all," said Aspin. "We started the game well and the second half we were well on top when they got the second goal."
The Shay these days is more akin to a bowling green than the bog on which the old Halifax, then a Fourth Division club, knocked Manchester City out of the Cup in 1980 and the footballing approach Aspin favours – which has brought two successive promotions – was evident for much of this contest.
Where Halifax did struggle, ironically, was in handling Charlton's aerial threat and, after Taylor and Michael Morrison had both gone close, the former broke the deadlock after 40 minutes with a looping effort from Paul Hayes' cross.
"We scored at a good time in the first half but in the second period had to weather the storm," Chris Powell, Charlton's manager, admitted. The lively midfielder Tom Baker shaved the Charlton crossbar from 30 yards before half-time, then Jamie Rainford's low strike drew a crucial save from John Sullivan.
Pacy substitute Jason St Juste worried Charlton's backline but Halifax heads dropped when Jackson scored with a deflected shot from just outside the box. Hollands and Pritchard duly added close-range strikes either side of Danny Lowe's dismissal for a crude challenge on Scott Wagstaff.
FC Halifax Town (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Toulson, Hogan, Lowe, McManus; Hardy; Holland (St Juste, 62), Baker, Garner (Winter, 73), Rainford (Anderson, 87); Gregory. Substitutes not used Senior (gk), Needham, Foster, Hogan.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Sullivan; Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Evina; Wagstaff, Hughes, Hollands (Pritchard, 88), Jackson; Hayes (Wright-Phillips, 86), Euell (Smith, 87). Substititutes not used Harner (gk), Doherty, Wiggins, Green.
Man of the match Baker.
Referee G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).