FC Halifax Town saved themselves from the worst possible start to their defence of the FA Trophy as they forced Matlock Town to a replay, with Alex Simmons grabbing a goal ten minutes before the end to save the blushes of Billy Heath’s side.
It looked for the majority of the match that The Shaymen were going to bow out of the competition at the first time of asking with Matlock taking a well-deserved lead just before half-time, with the home side looking the better side before Simmons’ equaliser.
We spoke to Tom Nicholson, who was making only his second competitive appearance for The Shaymen since joining from North Ferriby in the summer alongside Billy.
Nicholson felt the side worked as hard as they could have but the luck just wasn’t on their side in a game which on paper they were massive favourites…
“It’s not the worst place to come; they put a lot of pressure on us and turned us out. You can’t say the pitch weren’t playable, it just wasn’t our day. We worked as hard as we could have done but at the end of the day we have got a replay on Tuesday in which we’ll hopefully kick on.”
After super sub Simmons got the equaliser it looked for the world that The Shaymen would grab a late winner that would have been ideal for Billy’s side after applying great deals of pressure, with also the potential fixture congestion due to The Shaymen’s commitments in cup competitions. It would have been harsh on the home outfit if Town had stolen it in the dying embers of the game…
“It was a great finish from Simmons, we were pushing on in the last 15 minutes and I did think we were going to nick one late on in the end but it just wasn’t meant to be. We got the replay on Tuesday and we’ll see what happens there.”
Steven Drench was suffering from illness so didn’t make the side allowing goalkeeper Nicholson to get some valuable minutes under his belt, after his only other run out being in the West Ridings County Cup thrashing of Ossett Albion…
“Yeah it was good to get 90 minutes; Steven Drench was ill so hopefully he’ll be back next week. It was good for me to play the whole match and kick on.”
A theme which is being ever so common in football in recent years is for managers to alternate between their goalkeepers for the league and cups, Billy could potentially be looking at that option this year in the FA Trophy with Drench and Nicholson. The latter is the understudy to Drench and seems content with his role at the club but will be waiting in the wings and ready if anything changes throughout the season…
“Totally up to Billy Heath on that one. I’m not putting any pressure on that one; I will just keep on doing what I do in training. We have got the west riding cup and
I’ll play a couple of games in that. If Drench gets injured or the boss wants to change it I’ll be ready, I’ll just keep fit.”
The FA Trophy between FC Halifax Town and Matlock Town is a quick turn around and will take place at the MBi Shay on Tuesday 29th November.
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