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Maidstone United: The Clean Sheets Are A Big One

Posted by Luke Davis
Posted on Sun 16 Apr 2023
Posted in Interviews

Following FC Halifax Town’s 3-0 home win over Maidstone United, manager Chris Millington spoke to Shaymen TV to give his thoughts on the game.

“In the first half we looked like we were struggling to get out of second gear,” Millington said. “The thing we were mindful of going into this game off the back of the last three was the experience, the occasion, and the emotion of those three games. Obviously Altrincham, a cup semi-final and the way it all came to a climax was a real high. Then, you’ve obviously got Wrexham at home with a fantastic atmosphere and then York away which, similarly with such a strong away following and a really fantastic atmosphere. Then, you come to play a team who are obviously struggling and are having a difficult season and it’s always a potential banana skin, it’s never going to be the easiest game to get yourself up for. That was on our mind as a staff going into the game, that players might, for all the best intentions and their best efforts, might struggle to get themselves going for it. That was evident in the first half. The pitch maybe played a part, it was heavy and cut up very quickly, so that maybe had some contribution. But then, in the second half we came out and we fixed a few of the problems. We looked more energetic, we were more hungry to impose ourselves on the game and maybe could have had one or two more goals. Pleasing overall, but mindful that none of that sluggishness or weariness carries over to Bromley on Tuesday because that will be a much more difficult test.”

Neither side created much in the opening period of the game before Mani Dieseruvwe scored his fourth goal in three games as he tapped home the rebound after Adam Senior’s initial shot was saved.

“It was good to see Adam Senior getting high up the pitch,” Millington told Shaymen TV. “That’s what we want from our wide centre halves, going, joining in, and creating an extra body high up the pitch and helping us to stay high on the ball. That’s where the goal came from and Mani has put himself in the right position and gone and neatly tucked it away. He’s really hitting goal scoring form at the right time. Going in 1-0 up, arguably a little bit fortunate to be ahead, but there have been many occasions this season where a similar chance would have gone the opposite side of the post and we might have deserved to be 1-0 up and not taken the chance. We came in with the lead that just gave us a little bit of breathing space and confidence to go and impose ourselves on the second half.”

With the victory, Town now have five in row in all competitions, scored three in three consecutive games, and made it back to back clean sheets.

“The clean sheets are a big one, they’re becoming a hallmark of the team,” Millington said. “It’s a real pleasure to carry that over from last season when we were so strong defensively and we’ve done that again this season. Now what we’re seeing is the difference from the early part of the season, we’re taking our chances. We’re now a real threat when we go forward and there is a little frustration, I’m sure there will be fans out there who are saying ‘where were these goals earlier in the season’ and that’s the same for us. We knew we had them in the team and it’s disappointing it has taken this amount of time to get them out. But, now we are getting them. It’s really pleasing because it’s turning some of those good solid performances into victories and into points, and it’s having a real impact on the league table which is obviously what we want.”

Up next for the Shaymen sees another home fixture, this time against seventh placed Bromley who are still looking to confirm their place in the playoffs.

“It will be a very difficult test,” Millington told Shaymen TV. “They are a very good side and they’ve had a very good result today against Gateshead. They’re obviously fighting for promotion and they want to get in the playoffs and they will be a very real challenge for anyone they come up against in the playoffs. It’ll be a tough game. We are limited in terms of numbers, you’ve seen today we’ve been one short on the bench because of the injury Fidel O’Rourke sustained against York, so that’s meant we’ve been light on numbers. The great thing is that everybody has got an opportunity to contribute and we’ve seen it today, the only player who was unfortunate to not get minutes was Festus Arthur, but everybody else has made an appearance today and a significant appearance. It’s good that everyone who is fit is within touching distance of playing and clearly everybody who is fit and available will have to have an influence over the game on Tuesday.”

  1. Watch the full interview on Shaymen TV

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