FC Halifax Town: Kelly happy to be through after a roller-coaster game at Guiseley

Guiseley v Halifax FA Cup replay   Tom Craddock shoots wide for Guiseley
Guiseley v Halifax FA Cup replay Tom Craddock shoots wide for Guiseley

Darren Kelly was delighted to see FC Halifax Town reach the first round of the FA Cup but admitted his players did it the hard way.

Town edged a thrilling West Yorkshire derby at Guiseley 2-1 after extra-time thanks to James Bolton’s deflected shot five minutes from the end.

Sam Walker had put Town ahead before Adam Boyes’ second-half equaliser.

Kelly admitted he’d been put through the ringer on a night of gripping drama.

“There’s a roller-coaster of emotions,” Kelly said.

“We had four amazing chances and credit to their keeper, he was absolutely outstanding.

“But with the chances we had we could have had the game dead and buried by full-time, we even had a chance on 90 minutes, but the keeper was just outstanding - Gordon Banks-esque for one of them.

“All the players were tremendous, they put in a shift.

“If I’m being honest, I’m disappointed it went into extra-time because we have a game to prepare for.

“There are mixed emotions - I’m delighted with the win but the fact we have a long journey on Friday with a game Saturday, there’s a few walking wounded, which is a concern.

“But it’s fantastic for the players, I’m delighted for them.”

Kelly believes the win will only help his side’s burgeoning confidence, but is urging them not to get too carried away.

“They’ve been through a difficult time at the start of the season and you just want to get them playing with a smile on their face and get their confidence back,” he said.

“We’re under no illusions. Yes, it’s a win tonight, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

“The main thing is getting the players’ confidence and belief back but you can see over the last three games that it’s starting to get there.

“We’re slowly building it back. Tonight the players were exceptional.

“I said to them in the team talk, trying to motivate them in terms of the FA Cup, getting a run together and wanting it more than the player they’re playing against, and they did tonight, and more.

“I’m delighted for them but we have a bit of planning and recovery now before Saturday.”

Nat Brown came off with a groin injury just after half-time and will be assessed before Saturday’s trip to Eastleigh.

But Kelly was delighted with his replacement Hamza Bencherif.

“Hamza came on and he was excellent,” he said. “It’s difficult to come on as sub at any time, but I thought he was exceptional.

“Obviously he hasn’t featured a lot but he came in and he was a presence, he won his battles - the ones we talk about, the one v ones.

“I thought him and Matty (Brown) kept them at bay and that’s all you can ask for.”

Kelly praised his team’s response after Boyes’ equaliser, and thought Halifax were the better side overall.

“If you do concede you have to show character to come back,” he said.

“Dust yourself off and get back at it and that’s what they’ve done.

“You’d expect Guiseley as the home team to take the game to you and for the first 10, 15 minutes they did that.

“But after that, we settled down, got into our rhythm of playing and the chances we had, we could have finished the game 4-0 up.

“We’ve done it the very, very hard way, the way I wouldn’t have liked, but we’ll take the next round.”

Kelly was also delighted for Bolton, and felt his performance earned him his goal.

He added: “Probably five or six times he does that, it’ll go over the bar and probably be in some house in the back of the stand.

“But he deserved that because his effort and his work-rate for the team was instrumental and I’m absolutely delighted for him.”