FC Halifax Town manager Billy Heath insisted he couldn’t be prouder of his injury-hit Shaymen squad following Town’s narrow 1-0 home defeat to Barrow AFC at MBi Shay Stadium on Saturday.
Super-sub Jordan White’s second-half header that deflected off Shaymen skipper Matty Brown was enough to seal all three points for the buoyant Barrow whilst Halifax’s winless run in the National League extended to 11 games.
A strong first-half display saw Halifax strike the woodwork twice in quick succession, but the West Yorkshire side couldn’t capitalise on their dominance and fell by the wayside as The Bluebirds under new boss Adrian Pennock registered a third consecutive away win of the campaign.
Despite defeat, Town boss Heath lauded his team’s efforts and insisted that Halifax’s tenacious performance was at least worthy of a positive result.
“We probably had the best chances – particularly in the first half – but we didn’t take them in an even game and we saw what happened,” Heath said.
“Their goal was unfortunate because it came off Matty Brown’s head, and it’s disappointing because I felt we deserved something from the game – it’s all about getting those results and we didn’t deliver that today.”
A determined Heath refused to put his players in the firing line, insisting that his line-up couldn’t be giving any more effort – and that a change in fortunes with a little luck could be all The Shaymen need to turn their winless streak around.
“The players can’t give any more effort, they’re putting their bodies on the line and giving everything, they’ve got. Occasional lapses in concentration or slices of bad luck have cost us dearly, we’ve had injury problems but we’re doing the best we can with what’s available.”
An injury-ravaged, shoe-string Halifax squad has been tested to its limit in recent weeks, with Heath conceding that both Ben Tomlinson and Danny Clarke started in The Shaymen’s defeat despite carrying knocks suffered in recent weeks. With only 15 first team players available for selection, Heath insisted that there’s no easy fixes to the team’s problems as the difficult winter period edges closer.
“We’ve been down to the bare bones of our squad for weeks, it’s affected the balance of our squad.
“We lost Ben Tomlinson today and had to replace him with a centre midfielder, there’ve been plenty of injury problems but adding new players to the squad to combat the issue is down to finances so it’s never an easy task.”
Having commended his players’ bravery and tenacity on the pitch, Heath showered praise on Halifax midfield man Jake Hibbs, lauding the 21-year-old’s impactful pair of performances since elevating to the senior squad for the first time this season in last week’s draw against Eastleigh.
“Hibbs has been great since coming into the team, he’s had another good game – he and [Danny Clarke] look to be forming a decent midfield pairing. He’s had to come in and play two full 90 minute because of the injury problems, which isn’t ideal for him, but he’s having to do it at the minute and has certainly stepped up in difficult circumstances.”
Watch the full interview, in addition to all the post-match reaction from every Halifax game this season by subscribing to Shaymen TV.
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