Scott Spencer could not have envisaged a better full debut for FC Halifax Town than the one he enjoyed at The Hive on Saturday as his first half brace set The Shaymen on their way to a memorable 4-0 defeat of Barnet.
Spencer opened the scoring when he pounced to slot home after Lee Gregory’s initial effort was saved by Graham Stack, and he then converted Scott McManus’ low cross for Town’s third after a wonderful team move. Gregory and Lois Maynard grabbed the other goals in an emphatic, and thoroughly deserved victory.
The 25-year-old admitted his delight at getting his first opportunity in the starting eleven and at his own personal performance: “Yeah I’m really happy, I had a bit of a shaky start and it took me ten minutes to get into it but I enjoyed it. I was happy with the fact I got 70 minutes out of it as well because I’ve been working on my fitness and I’ve not played for a while.”
As The Shaymen approach the final straight of the season the games continue to come thick and fast, and with a wide array of options at Neil Aspin’s disposal there will be chances for different players to impress. Ryan Crowther and Marlon Jackson both started last week but were replaced by Spencer and Marc Roberts respectively, and the former Everton forward was glad of the opportunity to stake a claim in his manager’s first team plans: “Yeah well there is a lot of games in a short space of time so the gaffer has changed it up today and he’s brought me in. I’ve showed that I can come in and do a job so it gives the manager another option for the upcoming games.”
Sitting fifth in the table, victory in North London prolonged The Shaymen’s unbeaten run to eight matches. However, even more impressively it is their sixth consecutive clean sheet which is an incredible achievement for a back four that has also had to deal with enforced changes over the last two fixtures: “There’s options for the gaffer with the back four, there’s a few players there and everybody is solid and knows how to play, you just can’t break them down. The midfield three do a great job as well nullifying threats early on so it was a good all round team performance.”
Town’s recent signing is enjoying playing in a team brimming with confidence after the successes of recent weeks. To a man each player was faultless, and the performance against a key play-off rival in Barnet was arguably the best of the season thus far: “Yeah from back to front, with everybody talking and pulling each other about, it was really good to be part of today and I really enjoyed it.”
Spencer left basement side Hyde FC to move to The Shay last month and it is a stark contrast from the atmosphere he left at Ewen Fields where The Tigers had only registered one victory all campaign, and unsurprisingly it is a change that Spencer welcomes: “It’s like chalk and cheese, coming here with the way the dressing room is and the way the club is geared I’m just so happy to be here. It’s been a tough year for me at Hyde and I’m absolutely buzzing to be here for the remainder of the season so we’ll have push on and see what happens.”
With four games remaining FC Halifax Town now sit in the play-off positions, two points clear of their nearest challengers Braintree Town. Spencer says, given how well the team are performing of late, that the players have to be aMBitious by aiming for a place in the top five and earning a shot at promotion into the Football League: “I think obviously the play-offs are the goal. The way we’re playing, if the play-offs aren’t the goal then there’s no point? The way the team is playing at the moment it’s got to be a realistic goal for us to go for.”
The squad travel to Grimsby Town on Tuesday night for their next encounter where they will face a side sitting third in the table, despite this Aspin’s side will leapfrog the hosts with victory. It will undoubtedly provide a stern test for The Shaymen, but it is one Spencer is relishing: “Well coming in and seeing the three games that I’ve seen with the way their playing, as the new boy I don’t fear anything with this team and I can’t see who’s going to come and take us. I just cannot wait.”
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