It was a tight affair, but FC Halifax Town are into the second round of the FA Cup where the Shaymen will make the long journey to Eastleigh. It was a game of many contentious decisions with a red card and two disallowed goals during the match, but what was Billy Heath’s take on the issues? Read on for the manager’s views on the 2-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge.
“I thought the players were magnificent. It’s a bit like a mirror image of Saturday, missing the penalty we don’t make things easy for us and I think if we score the pen, with their boy sent off then that’s the game finished to be perfectly honest. But we don’t make things easy for ourselves and once again another late goal by Kosylo.”
“They’ve put a shift in and they’ve shown their commitment at all times; when they’ve scored the equaliser the game turned and shifted –even though they’ve got ten men our passing has gone array and the players even looked a bit tired after the game at the weekend – but obviously we showed character and we’ve got a massive result.”
“I don’t think anybody in the ground could have had any complaints, we should have been two to the good and there is one contentious decision, but like I say it might be the right decision –but it looks a strange one.”
Yes, the game was perhaps closer than it should have been with Jordan Sinnott missing a penalty on the hour mark and with Dagenham and Redbridge as a result a player down. Billy agreed that the red card changed the game, perhaps not for the better of the shaymen, but disagreed with the decision to send off Oliver Hawkins.
“I thought it [the red card] was harsh. I thought the disallowed goal was harsh, this was harsh; it looked like a coming together, their lad has gotten on the wrong side, but it did look harsh.”
And Billy also revealed that Jordan Sinnott taking the penalty was not planned prior to the game.
“No, that wasn’t planned -I expected Liam would take it, but at the end of the day, the players on the pitch make the decisions. Liam has missed one at the weekend and Sinnott has stepped up and, if I’m being hypercritical, you should never miss a penalty.”
“They changed the way they played [with ten men], they went 4-3-2 and they got the ball forward a lot earlier and fair play to John [Still] (Dagenham and Redbridge manager) they’ve put the ball into [testing] areas and they done it well. They were looking to push and when it went to 1-1 I was more concerned than John was; they seemed to be picking up all the knock downs and were first to the ball –but Kosylo has come up with another good finish, from a very similar place to that of Saturday.”
In truth, it was a well-deserved victory for the shaymen and Billy agreed, but the manager was in special praise for the scorer of the first goal, Tom Denton, who was at the heart of all things good.
“I thought the first twenty-five, thirty minutes we were absolutely superb and we dominated the game totally. I mean, we absolutely dominated and should have been… Denton, what a finish, I’ve still got to see the second disallowed goal for offside, but we should have been two or three to the good.”
“Everyone thinks with Denton he doesn’t score with his feet. Last season he got 21 goals and 9 were with his feet –yes he scores goals with his head, he’s 6’7” but he does pop up with the goals with his feet. This time it was a wonder strike, for twenty-five, thirty minutes he was unplayable.”
It wasn’t all smooth riding though for Nathan Hotte with the defender suffering from illness, but Billy did reserve some special praise for his performance.
“Nathan Hotte’s played 90 minutes when he has spent most of the day being ill –even when travelling down, but he’s played, basically because he’s had to because we don’t have other choices defensively,” said Heath.
“I’m not really sure how he’s made it through 90 minutes –at 12 o’clock today he was physically sick and he was sick in the car on the way down, other players wouldn’t play but he has the desire that he wants to play, so we gamble and he was magnificent, like he has been since he went to centre-half.”
Another man in for a special mention was the man behind the game-winning second goal, Matty Kosylo, the young winner has had a great impact from the bench recently leading to the question of whether he is in for a start on Saturday.
“He is banging on the door and he’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t start on Saturday and rightly so. Everyone is disappointed when they don’t play but what it does do is put a big thought into my head because what more can he do? He’s been very direct when he has come on, he takes players on and he has goals in him.”
It really was a special night and the crowd didn’t go unnoticed with Billy mentioning the crowd specifically.
“The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd didn’t stop singing –we had the lull in the second-half, but the crowd was brilliant and didn’t at any point give up and they supported us when we needed to and that’s what we want.”
As we now know, Eastleigh are up next in the second round after they beat a Swindon side two leagues above the South Hampshire side, here’s what Billy said now the tie is confirmed.
“Obviously Eastleigh are a top top team. They’ve gone and done a great job there [at Swindon], a few of the boys in the dressing room were talking about it. Obviously, it’s an away tie and another tough tie –but we are glad to be there.”
With all the buzz in the cup, it’s easy to forget the league as the boys in blue travel to Curzon Ashton on the weekend, but the manager is more than aware of the problems Ashton will bring –whilst also mentioning potential problems at the back for the game.
“There will be one change because Nathan Hotte is suspended so we will have to shuffle the pack. Hopefully, Jordan Burrows clears up a bit, but like we say I’ll reassess the situation on Thursday when we get back together. Curzon have had a great result Saturday, a great result Monday, they’re buoyant and Curzon get the ball down and play it and pass it and it’s always difficult when I’ve gone before. Confidence is good though and we should look forward to the game.”
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist