Neil Aspin finally saw his FC Halifax Town side record their first victory of 2014 – after a six game winless run – courtesy of a 5-1 thumping against fellow play-off chasers Salisbury City.
However, despite the glowing scoreline (which included Lee Gregory’s second hat-trick of an unforgettable campaign), Aspin admitted that his side “have played better” in previous league games at The Shay. He revealed to Shaymen Player:
“We have played better at home; our level of performance at home has been exceptionally good this season. It has been a fantastic effort by the players at home, especially with the number of goals we have scored.
“Even though we scored five goals tonight, we have played better in other games. Of course I am delighted because I was well aware that we hadn’t won this year until tonight and I was well aware that we needed a win to settle things down.
“I am really pleased with the result but I felt that we were sloppy and defensively I did think that we need to be better. We gave too many chances away and they had too many chances at goal. At times, even though we won 5-1, we got away with some poor defending.”
After another away defeat at the hands of Lincoln City at the weekend, the Shaymen a knew a set of three points at Fortress-Shay, where they have only lost once all season in the league, would leap-frog them over City. As it was, a third minute goal from that man Gregory set Town up for a pulsating win. Aspin said:
“I was very down about the result at Lincoln because I felt that was a chance for us to go there and get something. I’m not saying I expected to win that game but I did expect a better performance and the game was over before it really started in many respects. I left the game very disappointed.
“I felt tonight, against a side who is having a really good season and well-placed in the league with games in hand, I thought it would be a really tough game for us because we were under a bit of pressure and we needed to get a result. It is a great response from Saturday.
“I was a bit surprised, formation-wise, with how Salisbury played with three centre-backs as it meant there was a bit of space down the flanks and we exploited that early on and got the first goal.
“It was a good bit of play on the counter-attack, with some good passes and a great ball across. It was a perfect way to start the evening.”
As much as Gregory will hog the limelight with his hat-trick – making him the Conference Premier’s outright top goalscorer on 20 league goals – Aspin also pointed to the dazzling performance of Ryan Crowther, who impressed on his home debut. On the possibility of a new Shay Darling, Aspin admitted:
“Ryan is someone who I watched a lot of at Hyde and I have always liked him. I have always wanted to sign him but not really had the chance as he went into the Football League but when he became available, even though we had players in that position, I just thought, “There’s a chance to get him, so let’s get him in.” The lad has got quality and when he gets the ball you expect things to happen.
“Anybody who can take players on, score goals and do things differently can always get the crowd on the edge of their seats. That’s what you want.
“We lost Dan Gardner, who was obviously a favourite for a lot of people, so you try and replace him with somebody and, at the moment with the two games he has played, he has certainly done that.”
Watch his full interview on Shaymen Player now.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist