As FC Halifax Town’s regular season drew to a close against Kidderminster Harriers at The Shay with a 1-1 draw, 19-year-old Dominic Marie was brought off the bench by Neil Aspin to make his debut for The Shaymen.
Having signed from Winsford United in February, Marie has been training with the first-team and has joined in with the squad on match days when not involved back on loan with Winsford. However today the young forward finally got his chance to show the supporters what he could do: “It was fantastic, I had half an inkling I’d get on today but you never know how the game is going to go and about 25 minutes into the second half the gaffer brought me on. I was nervous but the reception that the supporters gave me when I came on was a huge boost and it is what I’ve been waiting to achieve for a while now. I’ve been just been itching to get on the pitch and wear the shirt and it was a great experience.”
Sitting on the bench was a nerve-wracking experience for Marie who could not wait to get out onto the pitch in front of a bumper 2000 plus crowd: “When you see the game panning out you want to get on and you want to get on the ball and you want to play for the supporters and show them what you can do. It was a tough game in the end, especially with Josh Wilson having to come off which was unfortunate. There were a lot of ‘doggies’ to chase up front by myself but I enjoyed it and I’ve been waiting a while now to get on the pitch and it’s fantastic to actually do it.”
On entering the pitch Marie was met by a warm round of applause that gave him just the confidence boost he needed to settle the nerves: “It was brilliant, you’re on the touchline waiting and you see your number go up and you’re a bit nervous and your legs are going, but then you hear the supporters cheering and it’s just a great feeling and you feel a lot more relaxed. It makes you want to do the job for them.”
Marie admits that it is only recently he thought he might get his opportunity to play, and maybe a couple of matches ago it did not seem feasible: “A couple of weeks ago maybe not no, but you never know how it’s going to pan out and how the injuries or anything are going to go. I’ve been training well, working hard and waiting for the opportunity and it came today which is a great end for the season for me personally, and now we can look forward to the play-offs and the thought of Wembley.”
Having joined the squad in the middle of a great vein of form, Marie reveals the mood in the camp is brilliant and the confidence is flowing amongst the squad, which is great to be part of: “It’s fantastic in training, everyone is buzzing and in a great mood and just looking forward to every game that comes now. After the game today, even though it was a draw, it was all celebrations now we’re in the play-offs and hopefully we can go to Cambridge, do a job and get to Wembley.”
The first leg of the play-off semi-finals against Cambridge United will be contested on Wednesday evening at The Shay, with the return at The Abbey to be played on Sunday afternoon. Marie believes his team-mates have a great chance of defeating the U’s and sealing a place at Wembley: “Definitely, Cambridge are a good side and have been almost certain to be in the play-offs for a good few weeks now whereas we’ve been challenging. It’s going to be a tough game but if we work hard we’ve definitely got more than a decent chance to get there.”
Neil Aspin certainly had one eye on the upcoming play-off fixtures during the encounter with Kidderminster and whilst the manager certainly went out to win the match, there was an emphasis on keeping fresh and rotated squad looking forward. With the exception of the disappointment of Wilson having to leave the pitch injured late on, the squad do appear to be in good shape ahead of Wednesday: “Yeah definitely, it was about getting a good performance in but sustaining no injuries. Hopefully Josh will be okay, he did fantastically well today. No other injuries which is good, we’ve just got to keep working hard and keep everyone fresh for Wednesday and hope that we can get a full squad out to challenge and hopefully do the business.”
From a personal point of view, Marie cannot wait for what the future may hold for him at FC Halifax Town and is already shocked by how fast things have moved in his Shaymen career up until this point: “It’s going to be brilliant, for me joining a few months ago and making my debut today with now the thought of maybe Wembley and League Two next season, it’d be a dream and it’s unbelievable to think a few months ago from when I first joined. I didn’t want to think too far ahead but now it’s on the brink you just really want to keep going and try and do the business.”
The future could be bright for Dominic Marie, and he’ll be with the squad on Wednesday night at The Shay when Cambridge United are the visitors.
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