2016/17 season review

FC Halifax Town began the 16/17 campaign in the National League North, as they looked to earn promotion back to the National League following relegation the previous season. They began the league with a thrilling 3-2 away victory at Nuneaton as a hat trick from Tom Denton got them off to a perfect start.

An unbeaten start to the campaign followed with eight points in the next four games, including a 4-0 thrashing of Tamworth at The Shay. However, back to back defeats in the next two games against AFC Fylde and Harrogate slightly dampened the mood around the club as August came to a close. The club bounced back as they picked up 13 points in the next six league games including impressive victories over Telford and Bradford PA, consolidated the clubs place in the play-off positions with an eye on the automatic spot in the northern section. This run also included victories in the FA Cup over Ashton, Stalybridge Celtic and Harrogate, as they progressed to the fourth qualifying round of the competition.

Two comfortable victories against Boston and FC United of Manchester saw the clubs excellent start to the season continue, as they stretched their start to just three defeats in their opening 18 matches in all competitions. A disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to Brackley at the end of October was a setback but it had still been a fabulous start to the campaign for The Shaymen. As November progressed, Town went through to the FA Cup second round with a 2-1 replay victory over Dagenham and Redbridge, thanks to goals from Tom Denton and a last minute winner from Matty Kosylo. December proved to be a very difficult month however as their charge for promotion took a significant setback after a winless month in the league. The Shaymen also bowed out of the FA Cup at the second round after falling to a 2-0 home defeat to Eastleigh. As 2017 began, Town’s winless run in all competitions stretched to seven games as they picked up just one point following a draw and a defeat against Darlington and Stalybridge Celtic respectively. This run was emphatically put behind them as teams were put to the sword as Halifax won seven of their next nine league games as their promotion push started to take shape. The only setbacks were 0-0 home draws and Stockport and Boston as the momentum was in full swing.

There were setbacks in March however, as Alfreton Town and Gloucester City both beat The Shaymen 1-0. The hope of automatic promotion was beginning to fade away and Fylde began to assert their authority on first place. Three wins on the bounce at the end of March and the start of April followed as they began to pull away from the chasing pack in the play-off positions. This included an impressive 3-0 victory away to FC United of Manchester following three first half goals from Dion Charles, Jordan Sinnott and Liam King. Their automatic dream was realistically ended on match day 39 following a 1-0 home defeat to league leaders Fylde, but three straight wins without conceding in the final three league matches meant Town would be heading into the play-offs as the inform side with four wins in final five games. They would face Salford in the semi-finals of the play-offs and after two tense 1-1 draws, Halifax emerged victorious winning 3-0 in the penalty shoot-out. The Shaymen faced Chorley in the regional final with the prize being a return to the National League after a one year absence. Kevin Roberts opened the scoring for The Shaymen in the 46th minute, but his goal was cancelled out by Adam Blakeman in the 60th minute. However Scott Garner’s goal in the first half of extra time proved to be decisive, as FC Halifax Town returned to the National League after an excellent season.

Players: Steven Drench, Kevin Roberts, Cliff Moyo, Scott McManus, Josh Wilde, Danny Hone, Matty Brown, Nathan Hotte, Scott Garner, Liam King, David Lynch, Jake Hibbs, Jordan Sinnott, Daniel Nti, Matty Kosylo, Josh MacDonald, Richard Peniket, Adam Morgan, Tom Denton, Danny Clarke, Sam Johnson, Tom Nicholson, Jack Bradley, Shiraz Khan, Isaac Baldwin, Ross Barrows, Elliot Harrison

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