FC Halifax Town boss Billy Heath has sung his squad’s praises after the Shaymen ran out 2-0 winners over Harrogate Town in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup..
A deflected Jordan Sinnott effort and an outstanding strike from Jake Hibbs meant that the Shaymen will be ball number 52 in the First Round proper draw on Monday night. After the game, Heath was understandably delighted and believed that it was a more than fair result.
“I think we deserved to win the game, I don’t think anybody watching the game today could have denied that we were the better team.”
“It was tough at times, it’s difficult to play down here because it’s an all new surface obviously compared to grass but I thought we were tremendous today, I thought we did really well.”
The tie at the CNG Stadium did not really get going in the first half, with both sides having very minimal attempts to break the deadlock. However, the second half was a complete contrast with Heath knowing that the first goal was always going to be crucial.
“Both sides only had one chance really (in the first half) and then in the second half I think we just upped it a bit. We had a great chance in the first minute of the second half with Richard Peniket.”
“The first goal was going to be massive for either side and then we got it. They pushed at the end but they’ve got to because they are at home so they have got to push in the last ten minutes.”
“Formation just went out of the window because suddenly they’ve got five or six men upfront so you have got to deal with that and then we had a really great finish from ‘Hibbsy’ which really put the game to bed and gave us a couple of minutes’ spare.”
“I have been in this situation before when somebody has, last season, scored a five-minute equaliser and we lost the replay so it is just getting over the line.”
Five added minutes at the end of the game saw nerves rising for the travelling fans following waves of attacks from the home side. It took a moment of brilliance from Hibbs to end Town’s worries as ‘keeper Crook was forced to watch the ball curve in from the halfway line.
It may have come as a shock to some fans, but Heath believes that Hibbs has always had the quality to produce moments like that one.
“What a finish from ‘Hibbsy’, the whole team were shouting at him to roll it into the corner and he has gone for goal and it’s an unbelievable finish. He’s a very good player learning his trade, he came on in the last 20 minutes and did really well.”
With Hibbs coming on to seal the tie and Tom Denton making a rare start on the bench, Heath has highlighted that the squad as a whole are key to the recent upturn in Shaymen form.
“It’s not about the starting eleven, it’s about the squad, Clifford came on for around seven or eight minutes but made two fantastic challenges, two headers he won in our box. It’s not about whether we do well in this league or not, it’s about the squad and not the starting eleven.”
“Now we understand where we want to be as a full team. In the early games when we were conceding two’s or three’s it wasn’t particularly defensive but it was the full shape of the team. Now that is definitely coming.”
You can watch the full interview with Billy along with more post-match reaction from Hibbs and Liam King on Shaymen Player HD.
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