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First Team

Darlington: Players Gave Everything

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Mon 2 Jan 2017
Posted in First Team

FC Halifax Town manager Billy Heath has spoken of the importance of his next month in charge and the short term future of his side.

The former North Ferriby gaffer reckons the next few weeks will determine whether his team will be promotion candidates in the play-off positions, or squander in mid-table.

Heath said: “We’ve got some big games this month and we start at Stalybridge. Which is never an easy game, they’re fighting for their lives.”

Stalybridge currently sit second from bottom in the Vanarama National League North and Heath expects a very difficult away trip to Bower Fold: “What you’ve got to make sure is that you’re up for a fight and you’re prepared to work hard.

“Today we did work hard, but sometimes the quality wasn’t as good as it should be-but in terms of effort and desire, the players gave everything.”

Heath and his FC Halifax team picked up a frustrating draw at the MBi Shay against play-off contenders Darlington, the game finished 2-2 in what was a game of two halves.

The Shaymen began the game on the front foot and had many an opportunity to tie up the three points, in contrary, the second half saw the game stretch and become a cagey affair that could have gone either way.

Heath claimed: “We started the game really well, I thought for the first twenty-five minutes we dominated.

“I don’t think we were in it a lot in the first game at Darlington (on Boxing Day). We gave poor goals away again, but I thought we started really bright today for good periods.”

One criticism of Heath’s team in recent weeks has been their tendency to give away cheap goals, and the gaffer was especially frustrated with the fashion of Darlington’s two goals.

“We’ve drawn a game where we’ve scored two goals at home. I said to the boys if we score two goals, it doesn’t matter if its home or away, we should be coming out with a win”, Heath said.

Heath will be delighted with the form of new signing Adam Morgan after another successful afternoon. Morgan signed from league rivals Curzon Ashton just before Christmas and has been an instant hit at the MBi Shay: “Morgs [Morgan] is Morgs, he’s a goal-scorer, that’s why we bought him.”

Morgan has been dominant up-top with target man Tom Denton, Heath said: “That partnership is in very early stages, but he’s got four goals in two games so we’re pleased.

We knew what we were bringing to the football club, a good player.”

With four goals in two appearances for the Shaymen, Morgan’s inspirational form is where Heath will be looking to ‘rectify’ the side’s rough patch over the festive period, but he admits that despite the result he can’t fault the effort of his team.

“Effort and commitment wise, the boys gave everything today. It was a high paced and high energy game; the boys couldn’t give any more.

Quality wise, we know we can be better.”

Following goalkeeper Steven Drench’s hamstring injury, Town rushed to bring in Port Vale stopper Sam Johnson, and after joining the club on the morning of the game he was brought straight into the fold.

Johnson is a familiar face at FC Halifax after a loan spell last season, and Heath said: “He’s done really well, he’s big and imposing, he made two or three good saves.”

The gaffer thinks it’s a benefit that the ‘keeper knows the football club and says he was ‘pleased’ to bring him in.

Looking at the bigger picture, Heath says that the competition for places in Drench’s position is a healthy thing after Johnson joined until the end of the season. “Drenchy’s [Drench] injured at the minute, which is one of the reasons that we’ve brought Sam in. He could be out for a month; it could be longer.

We brought him in for that reason [to bring cover for Drench], as well as him being a very good ‘keeper, but at the end of the day what you want is competition for places. That’s what we need.”

FC Halifax Town will face Stalybridge Celtic at Bower Fold on Saturday the 7th of January, the first game in Heath’s ‘big month’, a fixture where the gaffer will be keen to see a reaction from his team.

Full audio commentary will be available on Shaymen Player HD from 14:45pm, as well as full live match updates on the Shaymen Wall and our official Twitter account, @FCHTOnline.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist