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Darlington: Preview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Fri 30 Dec 2016
Posted in First Team

The festivities must be put to one side on New Year’s Day as FC Halifax Town will be determined to avenge their Boxing Day loss against Darlington.

The Shaymen were on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat, ending 2016 on a sour note. However, there are several reasons that Billy Heath’ men can be optimistic building up to the game.

Halifax have only lost one of their last six matches in the league at home, turning the MBi Shay Stadium into somewhat of a fortress that teams in the Vanarama National League North simply do not want to visit.

The exits of the cup competitions this season have been disappointing but Halifax embarked on a historic FA Cup run, making it to the second round of famous competition and were just one win away from a huge clash against Championship side Brentford. With the focus falling solely on the league now, three points against Darlington will be a massive plus.

Indeed, three points will be the main aim, and while initially Halifax’s ninth position in the league is troubling, but with two games in hand over each team inside the play-offs six points would fire Heath’s team straight back into fifth place.

One man who will be key to The Shaymen’s chances will be Adam Morgan. The former Curzon Ashton player made his debut against Darlington and scored twice. Claiming the quirky statistic of being the fourth Halifax player to score on his debut this season alone.

Earlier in the season Morgan grabbed national attention after scoring a hat trick against League One side AFC Wimbledon, proving his worth in gold. Jordan Sinnott’s injury has left space for Morgan to slip straight into the first team in the number 10 role and impressed during his first game. Scoring from long range in the first half and then chipping the Darlington goalkeeper with the last meaningful kick of the game. Albeit both with a hint of fortune.

A worrying statistic for Halifax fan’s is that the side of conceded eight goals in just their last three league games. In front of goal the numbers have far from dried up but if the side are set to fire themselves back up the league table the defence must be stronger. The return of Daniel Hone has been a welcome one and when Scott Garner returns from his suspension, the back four will be in full strength.

However, Nathan Hotte is still expected to line up in defence during Garner’s absence. Hotte has done himself justice with some strong performances but his presence may be required in midfield more than anything else, with Cliff Moyo having to fill in against Darlington. Heath himself admitted it was a case of square pegs being fitted into round holes.

Hopefully revenge will be on the cards against Darlington, and you can watch Halifax take on The Quakers at the MBi Shay Stadium on New Year’s Day.

Match Officials:

Referee: Paul Graham

Assistant Referees: Conor Brown, Alex Kirkley


Follow the game:
There will be full match commentary on Shaymen Player.  
Match updates will also be available on the Shaymen Wall as well as the club’s official Twitter feed. (  
Shaymen Player will also have full match commentary from the game as well as extended match highlights from the game, as well as all the reaction from Billy Heath and the rest of the camp.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist