Aspin happy as Town make flying start at Dover

Neil Aspin
Neil Aspin
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Neil Aspin was delighted to hit the ground running as FC Halifax Town beat Dover 1-0 on the opening day of the season.

Town had to wait until December last year for their first away win of the campaign but were straight out of the blocks this time round thanks to a rare Scott McManus goal.

Aspin said he was pleased there wouldn’t be such a long wait this season and that the long trip south was worth the effort.

He said: “After last year’s start and difficulty in trying to win away it’s fantastic to get off to a winning start.

“Obviously it’s only three points and there’s a long season ahead but it’s great to get that first away win undxer our belts.

“It does enter your head before you set off that if you don’t get the right result you’ve got all that journey back and then you’ve got a game on Tuesday.”

McManus’ effort just after half-time proved decisive, and Aspin said the first goal was always going to be crucial.

He said: “He (McManus) doesn’t get too many goals and he probably wouldn’t have been favourite to score.

“But I knew the first goal would be absolutely vital today - if Dover had scored first they’d have been very difficult to break down.”

Town started with a 3-5-2 formation but switched to 4-3-3 for the second-half, something Aspin said contributed to McManus’ goal.

He said: “Both teams were playing with a similar formation so I think we cancelled each other out - that’s why I decided to change it at half-time.

“There wasn’t much space centrally and I thought if we could try and get two v one on the flanks we might just get a little bit of joy and thankfully it proved that way with the goal.

“I’m not going to stick with any formation, I’ll use what I think we need to use when it’s appropriate.

“We’ve got players who can play in a variety of positions so it would be wrong just to stick to one thing.

“I’d like to think we’re flexible, like today where we’ve started with one formation and then changed it.

“We’ll decide on who we’re playing against and what personnel we’ve got available.”

Town survived an aerial bombardment as the second-half wore on, but met a stern resistence in Town duo Simon Ainge and Marc Roberts, although Ainge was sent-off in added time.

But Aspin praised the contribution of his two centre-backs.

He added: “You can’t come to Dover and not be able to head the ball if you’re a centre-back because they’re going to put the ball in the box.

“They’ve got good delivery from free-kicks but I thought both of them stood up well.

“They were men today and some of the headers were really, really good and it was just a shame for Simon that he’s got sent-off.

“But I wouldn’t point any criticism, it’s just one of those things when you’ve been booked, they’re chasing the game and it’s last ditch defending.

“You’re always liable to pick up another booking and I feel for Simon but he did contribute well today.”