FC Halifax Town: Play-off semi-finals are familiar territory for Town

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax
Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax
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Ahead of FC Halifax Town’s National League North play-off semi-final with Salford, we look back on The Shaymen’s recent record in play-off campaigns.

2012

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Gainsbrough

First-leg: Gainsborough 2-2 Halifax

Second-leg: Halifax 0-1 Gainsborough

Town recovered from the loss of Jamie Vardy at the start of the season to finish third in the Conference North, ahead of Gainsborough in fourth on goal difference.

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Neil Aspin’s side found themselves 2-0 down after 12 minutes at Gainborough in the first-leg before Lee Gregory scored twice to salvage a draw and seemingly put Town in control of the tie.

Kick-off for the second-leg at The Shay was delayed by 10 minutes due to the number of people who wanted to get into the ground, but they would end up disappointed as Shane Clarke’s 63rd minute goal knocked Halifax out, with Tom Baker and James Dean both hitting the woodwork.

2013

Guiseley

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

First-leg: Halifax 1-1 Guiseley

Second-leg: Guiseley 0-2 Halifax

Halifax bounced back the following season and found themselves back in the play-offs 12 months later, against West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley.

In a reversal of the previous season’s tie, Halifax were held to a draw at home in the first-leg in front of 2,367 fans at The Shay as a header from Danny Ellis cancelled out Dan Gardner’s opener.

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

Actions from the play-offs, FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough at the Shay, Halifax

But second-half goals from Alex Johnson and Gregory sealed a thoroughly deserved win for Aspin’s side, who went on to beat Brackley in the play-off final.

2014

Cambridge United

First-leg: Halifax 1-0 Cambridge

Second-leg: Cambridge 2-0 Halifax

One year on, and Town made it a miraculous hat-trick of play-off appearances after an astonishingly good first season back in the fifth tier in which they finished above the likes of Barnet, Forest Green Rovers and Wrexham, helped in no small part by Gregory’s 32 goals.

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg:
Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town.
 Halifax celebrate their first goal.
picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg: Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town. Halifax celebrate their first goal. picture mike cowling may 04 2013

The season had started with a sobering 5-1 thrashing at Cambridge on the opening day, but Town were a different team by the time of their play-off, semi-final first leg at The Shay.

Inevitably, it was Gregory who scored for Halifax in their 1-0 win in front of 3,668 fans, which put them just 90 minutes away from a place in the final.

It wasn’t to be though, as Delano Sam-Yorke, who scored twice in that 5-1 win back in August, did so again to break Town hearts.

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg:
Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town.
As the away fans point the way Halifax's Alex Johnson thumps an attempt on goal.
picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg: Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town. As the away fans point the way Halifax's Alex Johnson thumps an attempt on goal. picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg:
Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town.
Matty pearson joins fans in clebrating Halifax's first goal.
picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg: Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town. Matty pearson joins fans in clebrating Halifax's first goal. picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg:
Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town.
Guiseley kept on attacking the Halifax goal right until the final whistle.
picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg: Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town. Guiseley kept on attacking the Halifax goal right until the final whistle. picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg:
Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town.
Halifax's Lee Gregory runs to the fans celebrating his goal.
picture mike cowling may 04 2013

Blue Square Bet North Play Off semi final 2nd leg: Guiseley AFC v FC Halifax Town. Halifax's Lee Gregory runs to the fans celebrating his goal. picture mike cowling may 04 2013

FC Halifax v Cambridge United.
Town's Lee Gregory celebrates his penalty.
30th April 2014.Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

FC Halifax v Cambridge United. Town's Lee Gregory celebrates his penalty. 30th April 2014.Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe