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First Team

Macclesfield: A Fine Balance

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Fri 18 Apr 2014
Posted in First Team

FC Halifax Town just can’t stop winning. Tuesday night saw Grimsby become the latest addition to Town’s win column. A 1-0 win, courtesy of a second half Lois Maynard goal was enough to see the Shaymen leapfrog Grimsby into third place.

The seemingly unstoppable Town train is heading quickly for guaranteed playoffs and its next stop is Macclesfield. Experienced defender Chris Smith knows exactly what the wonderful world of confidence can do for a team: “We had it when I went up with York, we had a sort of belief that we weren’t going to get beat and it was a bit of an arrogance, not a cocky arrogance, a good arrogance.

“There is a fine line between a cocky arrogance and a good arrogance and I think we’re in the perfect balance at the moment with the attitude of we’re not going to get beat, if we all do our jobs right.”

Currently flying high after five impressive away wins on the bounce, it seems a light-year away when Town struggled to even pick up one win on the road. Smith may have found out what the team was missing at the start of the season: “When I came here the boys had that arrogance at home. They knew if they did their jobs they weren’t going to get beat and that’s why they’ve got such a good home record.

“We have that belief away now and we’re going away to big clubs, ex-league clubs with big support and now it seems like we have a belief. Before the game on Tuesday, we knew if we all did our jobs we’d win the game and we believed it, so maybe it’s just that that bit of belief.”

Just a few months ago, manager Neil Aspin called for better performances from his defence and boy have they delivered. Now over ten and a half hours (650+ minutes) without conceding a single goal, the Shaymen shield still stands strong.

But Smith knows that the recent success has included every individual at the club, from back-to-front and testament to this is the fact that Town have found the net 13 times since they last conceded: “It’s not just about the form of the defence and the keeper, it’s the whole team and the way that they’re willing to work for each other.

“I’ve never been in a dressing room where it’s full of such good lads. I’m not saying I’ve been in bad dressing rooms but there’s no cliques, there’s no sort of bad eggs, no one thinking that they’re better than the others and that goes a long way.

“If you’ve got a good dressing room you’re halfway there and I think that shows on the pitch, when the lads are willing to go to that next level for each other. When there’s cliques or a bit of animosity between a few players in a team it shows but we haven’t got that at all and that shows on the pitch and you only have to look at when we score, every single person comes to celebrate, except Matty Glennon, it’s a long way for him to come!

“There have been games where I’ve sat on the bench and watched back with admiration, for the way the lads work with and support each other, defensive and attacking.”

Of course, all this success attracts attention, and Aspin has quietly become one of the hottest properties on the market and Smith thinks it may be the gaffer’s down to earth attitude that has guided his team to third in the table: “There is nothing but positives. He keeps his feet on the ground.

“He’s not getting carried away with all the hype and obviously he’s had good press because as a manager at this club, when you are doing so well you are always going to attract attention and he’s kept his feet on the ground and it shows that if he does that, the lads do that.”

FC Halifax Town will go into the game against Macclesfield armed with an unholy amount of confidence achieved from attaining 25 points from a possible 27 from their last nine games. But the experience of Smith tells him that the team cannot get complacent out there come Saturday: “Any team can beat anyone in this league and that’s been proven throughout so if you go with the attitude that we’ve got a good home record, we’re on form at the minute so we just need to turn up, we’ll get beat.

“The lads aren’t like that and I’m sure they won’t be like that, the gaffer wouldn’t allow it. It’s going to be a tough game even though they have nothing to play for. They won’t just want to lose a game and we know that if results go our way on Friday, then mathematically, we could be in the playoffs.”

So what do the team have to do to keep this unbelievable form going? Smith thinks that Town’s best bet is to just carry on: “It’s one of them, if you can work it out you bottle it and become a very successful salesman.

“The gaffer goes on about desire and hard work and I know that’s an old cliché but it is just that. When it’s happening you just ride with it and hope it continues. The only thing you can do is carry on trying to do what you’re doing and try not to get above yourself, you know, keep your feet on the floor because even if we get to the playoffs there’s still a long way to go.”

If all the results go against Halifax, they’d just need four points from three games to secure themselves that much sought after playoff spot. If you are unable to attend Saturday’s game then do not panic. The media team, as always, have you covered. Courtesy of live updates via the Shaymen Wall and from our official Twitter account @FCHTOnline. You can also watch extended match highlights and exclusive post-match interviews on Shaymen Player following the game.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist