Matty Brown sent the Shaymen fans into raptures last Sunday as his penalty fired FC Halifax Town into the National League North Promotion Final against Chorley FC.
After a 1-1 draw after extra-time, it was the defender, whose season has been riddled with injuries who stepped up and drilled the ball high into the net to set up a tie against the Magpies at the Shay on Saturday. Halifax are now potentially 90 minutes away from an immediate return to the National League.
Mark Carroll has been working alongside Billy Heath for around 16 years, and the ever-present figure on the touchline spoke to us about the upcoming final. Looking back at the Salford victory, Carroll was overjoyed with the performance from the Shaymen…
“Obviously, you wanted it to be a lot easier, it’d be nice if we were 4-0 up with twenty minutes to go and I think everybody in the ground could’ve relaxed, but looking at the first leg we knew it was going to be a tight game. Two very evenly matched teams, similar strengths and weaknesses, but I thought he boys were outstanding, just like they have been for the second half of the season.
I know we’ve had a few things thrown at us but one thing that nobody can throw at us is the togetherness of the team and the willingness to fight until the end. I think that showed on Sunday in spades.”
With Mark and Billy, as well as some of the players within the Halifax squad securing promotion to the National League last season via the play-offs with North Ferriby, Carroll believes this experience could play a part when the Shay hosts Chorley…
“The bigger games you’re in the more you can take from them, and you learn from your mistakes you made previously, and going into the build-up to it and how you approach it on the day.
It’s about holding your nerve. It’s a one-off football match, it’s been a long hard season and it’s down to this one last football match.
We’ve been in this position before and we’ve got it right. It certainly fills us with a bit of confidence knowing we’ve been there and we’ve been in the position before.”
Chorley’s late winner against Kidderminster at Victory Park meant Matt Jensen’s side progressed to the final. The game is held at Halifax’s home, and Carroll hopes this home advantage can become a huge factor in favour of Halifax…
“It’s always an advantage. You saw on Sunday, there were a lot of tired legs out there. Especially when you concede, the lads needed that little lift.
The supporters were magnificent. To a man, they got behind the boys and the same can apply on Saturday, they can get the place rocking. I know it’s an old cliché, being the 12th man, but it really does help when everyone is pulling in the same direction. Speaking to the lads in the changing room afterwards, it was probably one of the best atmospheres they’ve played in, regarding a support getting behind them, and that’s credit to the Halifax fans.”
And Carroll also had a message to give to the Halifax fans after their creation of an electric atmosphere on Sunday…
“Just more of the same. There are going to be some twists and turns and just basically, for 90 minutes or 120 and penalties if it takes that again, just get behind us and see us over the line.
They’ve just got a massive part to play. I think if they turn up and we do the business and they do the business, I don’t think we’ll have a problem.”
The Vanarama National League North Promotion Final between FC Halifax Town and Chorley FC takes place at the MBi Shay Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.
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