FC Halifax Town: Our defending must improve, says Town boss

Billy Heath
Billy Heath

Town boss Billy Heath says his team must tighten up defensively after their 3-2 defeat at Darlington on Boxing Day.

Poor defending contributed to two of Darlington’s three goals, with the defeat condemning The Shaymen to five defeats in their last seven games of 2016.

Heath was left to rue a virus that ruled out Danny Clarke and Tom Nicholson entirely and consigned Liam King to the bench, while Jake Hibbs failed a late fitness test, but admitted his team’s defending was not good enough.

“Darlington’s first was such an awful goal,” he said.

“We didn’t defend it properly on the right-hand side, the ball comes through, three or four players miss it and there’s their top goalscorer to tap it into an empty net.

“We didn’t start the game well but we stayed in the game, gave as good as we got and got the goal.

“Half time probably came at the wrong time for us and then we knew we were against a strong wind in the second-half, but we didn’t help ourselves because we gave another two poor goals away and then we’ve got a hill to climb.

“When you lose three players on the morning of the game due to a virus, and we have to put Liam King on the bench because he’s not well, and you then have players in unnatural positions - the boys didn’t a decent shift.

“But we were a bit unbalanced and the problem we’ve got is that teams aren’t having to do a lot to undo us at the minute.

“We seem to switch off or make a poor decision and it ends up in the back of the net.

“I said to the players that the expectation is huge, but they’ve got to take that on the chin, work harder and hopefully we can start picking up some results.”

Despite the disappointing defending, Heath was pleased with the attitude from his side.

“It was a close game,” he reflected. “I think effort-wise, and commitment-wise, we did OK, I thought the boys put a shift in.

“We had quite a few square pegs in round holes enforced on us.

“We’re disappointed to lose again, of course we are, but we’ll pick ourselves up and keep working hard.

“The main thing is to keep the goals out because to come to Darlington and score two goals - it should be enough to win.”

Debutant Adam Morgan was the main positive for Town on the day.

“He’s a good talent,” Heath added. “He’s had the grounding at Liverpool and he was there for a long time.

“You don’t stay at Liverpool for a number of years if you cannot play.

“He got two goals, gave a really good performance.

“He’s got that ability to start on the frontline then he comes off into little pockets where centre-halves don’t particularly want to go.

“He can link things up but he is a centre-forward.

“He’s done better than I thought he would because he’s not trained with us.

“We signed him on Friday and it took longer than we thought it would, but he’s come in and done a good job.”