FC Halifax Town’s FA Trophy campaign didn’t get off to a flying start after a 1-1 draw with Matlock Town at Causeway Lane.
The Derbyshire outfit opened the scoring through Curtis Morrison on the brink of half-time before Alex Simmons entered the field to fire home a goal that means a replay awaits both teams on Tuesday night.
Billy Heath spoke to Shaymen Player HD after the game…
“We didn’t really play well throughout the game. We pushed in the last twenty minutes and changed our shape a little bit, but I just thought we didn’t take care of the ball again, didn’t pass it fantastically again, and rightly so, were 1-0 down at halftime. They just looked a little bit busier than us, and the pleasing thing is that we’ve got another chance at it.”
Last year’s FA Trophy winners were second-best for the majority of the game, and the performance didn’t seem too dissimilar to the one seen against Curzon Ashton last week…
“I think Curzon took a little bit of confidence out of us. We spoke about it during the week and before the game. We’ve had one defeat but the confidence seems to have gone out of us. What we’ve got to do is make sure we work hard, and I’ve said to the players after the game is that they’ve got to keep working hard and get themselves out of what is a little bit of a lull in confidence. They’ve got to breath confidence back into themselves. And what they can do is keep playing through.
But it’s two games of football where we haven’t performed.”
Billy also called for bravery from his players, who seem to have hit a slight slump after their win over Dagenham & Redbridge and advancement to the Second Round of the FA Cup…
“We just weren’t passing the ball. On the football we were poor. We never really passed the ball at all; in all areas of the field. On the football we weren’t great, which is quite strange when we’re only ten days from our great result in the FA Cup, and suddenly we’re not passing the ball great at all. Whoever we play in the next game, they’ve got to be brave, and they’ve got to get on the ball and start passing it well again. And if they give it away, they’ve got to get it back again. But it’s time now for people to be brave”
It looked like the Shaymen would fall at the first hurdle of their defence of the FA Trophy, but Alex Simmons was on hand to salvage a draw and score his first goal since Boston United which was just over a month ago.
“It was a great finish. We changed one or two positions today just to freshen things up. ‘Simmy’ has played a lot of football, and he’s not played a lot of football before he came to us from Lincoln and I thought it was catching up on him a bit.
He hasn’t looked as sharp as he when he first came. Not for the want of trying, just simply because I think he’s probably played the most games in a condensed period since he’s been with us so we just wanted to freshen up. And we know he’s got that in his locker, he’s got a great left foot. He’s come on, and obviously got us a chance to play again.”
A tackle from Danny Clarke on Matlock’s skipper Adam Yates received many calls for Clarke to be dismissed. The tackle seemed to be a bad one, but the recent signing didn’t receive a booking. Billy agreed with the referee’s decision…
“It was 50/50 and he won the ball, simple as that. If you see it again, he’s won the ball. His follow-through might have caught the lad but he won it, that’s what he’s there for. There’s always going to be calls, there’s calls for lots of things during a game from lots of quarters. But at the end of the day, it’s what happens on the pitch and it’s what the referee deems.”
Matlock will travel to the MBi Shay Stadium on Tuesday night for the replay, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
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