After FC Halifax Town secured a 1-1 draw away against Salford City in the first leg of their Vanarama National League play-off match, manager Billy Heath has banged the drums ahead of the home game and stated he wants a crowd that can help his side win the tie.
The Halifax faithful were in their usual good voice, so much so that at long periods of the game it felt like a home game for The Shaymen. It was an atmosphere that the manager hopes were just a taster of the partisan feeling that could occur at MBi Shay Stadium this Sunday.
“They now have to come to The Shay. Let’s get a big crowd in there, the supporters were fantastic here tonight. They were noisy, they were behind us, really pushing us. The players said they loved it they were fantastic. Trying to suck the last-minute corners into the net! Hopefully we can get a massive crowd at The Shay and that will get us over the line.”
Richard Peniket gave the away side the lead with a well-placed strike into the bottom corner before James Poole equalised for Salford late on. It was a game that could have gone either way with both sides showing that they can put in a solid performance both defensively and offensively.
This is a sentiment that the Halifax boss agrees with and was fairly pleased with both the performance and the result.
“I think to be fair we both had chances, they’ve hit the post and we’ve hit the crossbar. We had key moments where we can wrap up the game and go 2-0. We defended great all night, we were set up well all night. Obviously, the goal was disappointing but it has been a decent display tonight, it’s always a tough place, Salford’s record here is good. First leg away from home and it’s a draw. It’s a decent result.”
Despite the game being even throughout, The Shaymen certainly had their fair share of opportunities to win the game, the highlight of which came in the second half when Jordan Sinnott race through the Salford defence but agonising fire just wide of the net with his weaker left foot.
Both Nathan Hotte and Scott Garner had chances to score for Halifax but Heath was quick to point out the fact that both sides had moments in the match would could have won it for them.
“It’s not all on Jordan because he played well. I think the way we are at the minute we are not conceding goals. It is not over, and it is not over until the referee blows his final whistle on Sunday afternoon. It was a key moment but they had a couple of key moments that went our way as well so it was a pretty fair result on the night.”
In the end, it was a rather disappointing effort that made its way past Sam Johnson who had been inspired form all night. After making sure he caught virtually every cross that came into his box and got behind the few shots Salford had, it was Poole’s scuffed finish that found the bottom corner. Heath would have backed his goalkeeper to make the save if the strike had been hit more cleanly.
“It was a scruffy one as well because it could have been avoided. We didn’t get out quick enough we didn’t stop the cross quick enough so it has come in and been recycled. That is something Salford do well they recycle. I wouldn’t say he had a little bit of luck because he has done well to turn with his back to goal and he has scuffed it, that deceived Sam Johnson a little bit. I think if he catches it cleanly it would have been saved.”
The draw means that both teams will fancy themselves in the final fixture of this play-off round and it is apparent that the manager of Halifax is very much looking forward to this mouth-watering affair.
“This is the beauty of the play-offs; therefore, everyone gets a massive buzz from the play-offs. It is one game. It’s a chance to see who has the nerve, physical strength, mental strength and who is going to get that goal or goals to win you the game.”
You can watch Halifax test their strengths in this all important fixture, at the MBi Shay Stadium against Salford City on the 7th of May.
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