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First Team

Salford City: Another Tight Affair

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Sat 6 May 2017
Posted in First Team

With the crucial second leg of the Vanarama National League North Play-Offs coming up for FC Halifax Town, Billy Heath has outlined that he is very much looking forward to the mouth-watering clash.

The away leg, played at Salford City’s Moor Lane, seemed to be giving the Shaymen the advantage following Richard Peniket’s first half opener. However, a late James Poole equaliser meant that both sides go into the second leg at the MBi Shay Stadium as evens.

The goal for the home side was well taken by Poole, although Heath believes that there may have been an element of luck as it rolled past April’s Player of the Month, Sam Johnson.

“He did ever so well with his back to goal because he turned and hit it. I think it has deceived Sam a little bit because, if he catches it clean, he may have saved it. We can look forward to Sunday now, it will be another tight affair between two good teams in this league”.

The game at Moor Lane saw Heath revert to a more typical line-up seen for most the season, with the likes of Josh Wilde and Kevin Roberts returning to the starting eleven.

One man who kept his place from the Chorley game was Nathan Hotte. In a game where his fantastic effort agonisingly struck the crossbar, Heath was pleased with his performance in a more advanced position.

“It is not foreign for Hotte to play in the midfield role. Originally, he is a centre midfield player who has done a lot of good work at centre half so there were no problems playing him there. I thought he played very well in that role.

“Against Salford you have to be strong because they are such a big team. We had to go with a very big team and Nathan gives you that”.

As Hotte kept his place, others were forced to miss out. The likes of Danny Clarke and Liam King, both performing well in recent weeks, were side-lined for injury related reasons.

However, Heath expects them to be ready for what will be a massive tie at the Shay.

“We knew it was going to be one for the strong boys and that game (Wednesday) would have been tailor made for Clarke. It has been a theme for the season, we thought we were going to be fully clear of injuries then suddenly Clarke had a problem after Chorley.

“We thought he was going to clear up, and for Liam King it may have come a bit too soon for him. Hopefully they will both be in contention for Sunday”.

With Sunday’s game now just around the corner, the excitement is building rapidly for what will be a season defining game for both sides.

The big occasion means that the support from the ever-loyal Shaymen will be needed more than ever. After 600 fans made the journey to Moor Lane, Heath has called for a bumper home crowd to give the lads that extra boost.

“They were noisy, they were behind us, really pushing us. The players said they loved it, they were fantastic… Hopefully we can get a massive crowd at The Shay and that will get us over the line.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist