Chorley 0-2 FC Halifax Town: We were excellent, says Heath after Chorley win

Billy Heath. Picture Tony Johnson.
Billy Heath. Picture Tony Johnson.

Town boss Billy Heath was pleased with the mental and physical side of his team’s performance after their 2-0 win at Chorley on Saturday.

Halifax made it three wins and three clean sheets in a row thanks to goals from Tom Denton and Liam King.

The Shaymen now face Salford in the play-off semi-finals, while Chorley play Kidderminster, who finished second.

Heath said: “We were excellent, strong, solid, we played it the right way. No disrespect to Chorley but you couldn’t play properly on that surface. It was bumpy. But we picked a team that was prepared for that.

“It was a tight game. We knew Chorley would have to go for it in the second-half, and they asked questions. But everything that was put into our box was defended well.

“The second goal was the icing on the cake but I thought mentally we were fantastic and physically we looked a very strong and powerful team.

“I think you’ve got to play whatever the circumstances dictate and we made seven changes, we changed the shape, and we got the result.

“It wasn’t pretty from both teams because it’s a difficult surface to play on. But you have to be able to play both ways.”

Denton now has 19 goals this season, and Heath said he expected such a goal return from the forward.

“It’s not a surprise,” he said. “He scores goals - it’s as simple as that. That’s why we brought him here.

“It was never in any doubt he would get over 15. He’s a bit disappointed because he’s usually over 20 by now. He wanted to take the penalty. He actually said to me at half-time ‘if we get a penalty, can I have it?’ and I said ‘no you can’t because you’re rubbish at them’.

“I’m pleased for him because he can’t play on plastic so he’s been left out at Harrogate and Tamworth.

“Richard Peniket was magnificent at Harrogate and we left him out at Chorley because he had a bit of a back problem and didn’t train on Tuesday. He trained on Thursday but we left him out as a precaution.

“But it was a good finish by Tom. The ball has missed everybody but he anticipated it well. Sometimes you can snatch at them and it’s gone before you know it but he just put it in.”

There were starts for Matty Brown and Scott McManus, who started a game together for the first time since Halifax beat Grimsby in the FA Trophy final at Wembley last May.

“I thought Matty Brown was magnificent,” Heath said. “All of the back three were big and strong. They answered all the questions Chorley put to them with balls going into the box.

“There’s a lot more to come from Macca because he’s been out for so long. We didn’t intend to keep him out there as long as we did. We asked him at half-time if he was OK and he said he had plenty more in the tank.

“He did very well but he’s probably playing at 70 per cent at the minute.”

Adam Morgan was given a rare start in attack, but was substituted before the hour mark.

“He did some good things,” Heath added. “What I will say is it wasn’t a great game for him to make his comeback. It wasn’t his type of game because there wasn’t a massive amount of football played. Everything was about percentages, putting things in certain areas.

“We got him on the ball a couple of times and he gambled off Dents. He likes to come short and link things up but you couldn’t do that on that surface, so he made the runs in behind. A lot of the time it didn’t fall to him but he did alright. It was good for him to get a start.”