FC Halifax Town: A big improvement, says Town boss Kelly

Football - FA Cup - FC Halifax Town v Guiseley. Darren Kelly and Jim Harvey
Football - FA Cup - FC Halifax Town v Guiseley. Darren Kelly and Jim Harvey

Darren Kelly believes his FC Halifax Town side did enough to earn their place in the first round of the FA Cup after Guiseley fought back to earn a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

The two sides will now battle it out in a replay on Tuesday night at Nethermoor after Adam Boyes’ brace cancelled out first-half goals by Sam Walker and Kingsley James.

Kelly was delighted with his side’s display, but admitted fatigue got the better of his players late on.

“I thought the players were exceptional and some of our play at times was great to watch,” he reflected.

“It was a big improvement on what we’ve been doing.

“We’ve brought in certain personnel, good experience, leaders, which was vital today.

“I just thought maybe match fitness caught up with some of them during the last 20 minutes and through that, concentration levels dropped and we conceded two goals.

“So I’m disappointed with the fact we conceded two, especially being 2-0 up and after that first-half.

“But we’re still in the hat so we’ll look forward to Tuesday night.”

Kelly thought Town could have won it even after Guiseley equalised, and was encouraged by the overall performance.

“Credit to the players, they battled,” he said.

“There was that 10 minute spell when they (Guiseley) put pressure on us and got the two goals.

“But I thought we finished the game strongly as well and created a couple of good chances.

“But there are so many positives to take out of the game and in terms of a response from last week.

“We were able to do a lot of work in training this week but you can see we’re still a work in progress but things are getting better.”

Kelly confirmed debutant Keil O’Brien was substituted due to tiredness and that loanee Kieran Sadlier wasn’t given permission to play by Peterborough.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United youngsters Julian Banton, CJ Hamilton and David Brooks have all had their loans terminated.

“I’ve made a decision on them. They’ve been excellent but I want to go down a different route,” Kelly explained.

On the loanees who did play, Kelly said: “We’ve brought in players like Nicky (Wroe), Keil (O’Brien) and Nat (Brown), but they need a few games under their belt before you see their real quality.

“Tommy’s career speaks for itself but he’s also going to need a few games to adjust.

“You can’t buy experience and that’s a big area where we’ve been lacking, somebody who can organise and use their experience to good effect and I thought Tommy did that.

“We still need to enhance the squad but I’m very hopeful, especially after this performance, about what we’re capable of doing.”

Kelly said Miller was an obvious choice to take the captain’s armband.

He added: “Tommy’s been great for the players. He brings a presence and great experience and you can see the lift he’s given the changing room since he’s come in.

“You just have to look at his profile and his career stats to know what he’s about.

“I don’t like a keeper being captain to be honest so Tommy’s come in and fits the bill perfectly in terms of what I’m looking for from a captain.”