FC Halifax Town secured third position in the National League North table this weekend with a solid 0-2 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls, Chorley. This result has set up a tasty play-off semi-final tie with Greater Manchester side, Salford City. Both sides come into the fixture in good form with Town losing just one of their last nine league matches and Salford coming out on top in their final 3 league games of the season.
However, in the two league meetings between the clubs this season Salford were unable to get the better of the Yorkshire side. The first match was a dramatic 2-2 draw at Moor Lane whilst Town were rampant 4-2 winners in the return fixture. Billy Heath and the FC Halifax faithful will hope to see more of the same over the two-leg semi-final.
A player to keep an eye on in the tie is Salford City right-back, Michael Nottingham. He was selected as part of the Evostik League First Division South’s team of the season whilst playing for Gresley and this show of talent earnt hima move to Solihull Moors in 2013. Having established himself as a key player in the Solihull setup he was able to play a big part in their National League North title success last season, before securing a summer transfer to City.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a rewarding first season with the club, scoring 10 goals and assisting just as many. His contribution did not go unnoticed by the Salford fans as he was recently voted the Supporters’ Player of the Season, which emphasises the impact that the full-back has had in his debut season at Moor Lane.
Nottingham was most recently on the scoresheet this weekend as Salford thrashed Darlington 1883 5-1. The defender scored a header just before half-time and Town must be wary of his aerial ability, particularly from set pieces as he is one of the taller players in the Salford squad. Town should know all about his tendency to play as an attacking full-back as it was his cross that lead to Salford going ahead 2-1 in their first meeting of the season.
With all the away tickets now sold for Wednesday’s first leg in Manchester, the travelling Town fans will hope that the Shaymen can nullify Nottingham’s threat and bring a clean sheet back to the MBi Shay Stadium ahead of the second leg on Sunday.
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