Aldershot 0-1 FC Halifax Town: Players put in a huge shift, says Carroll

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Tranmere, FA Cup at the Shay. Mark Carroll (centre).
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Tranmere, FA Cup at the Shay. Mark Carroll (centre).

Town assistant manager Mark Carroll said the Halifax players gave everything they’ve got in their superb 1-0 win at Aldershot to end a run of 12 games without a victory.

Scott McManus’ goal five minutes before half-time earned The Shaymen a precious three points, as Billy Heath’s side registered only their second clean sheet in 11 matches.

“It’s massive for the club and the players,” Carroll said. “Winning becomes a habit and so does not winning, and you have to break it.

“We’ve had a bit of bad luck along with some bad defending as a team, but we got a bit of luck today.

“But from one to 11 defensively we kept our shape really well against a really good Aldershot team.

“I don’t think Sam (Johnson) has had a great deal to do.

“It hurts when you don’t win matches. We try to get up for training and everything else but you can’t beat winning - that’s what we’re all in it for.

“We’ve got lads out there who maybe wouldn’t be playing if we had everybody fit. I don’t mean that disrespectfully but because they’re only 70 or 80 per cent fit, but they’ve put in a shift for us.

“That goes to show that whatever people throw at us, they can’t ever say that the boys don’t give everything they’ve got for the club.”

Carroll said Town getting the first goal - the first time they’ve done that in eight matches - made a huge difference, with McManus taking advantage of a terrible error by Aldershot keeper Lewis Ward when he missed his kick in trying to clear Connor Oliver’s through ball.

“We haven’t been getting the first goal in games and it is a big thing. It gives you a lift,” Carroll said.

“You’ve got something to hold onto and it puts a bit of pressure on the opposition.

“You go back to the Eastleigh game at home and for the first 20 minutes we were the best team but suddenly you find yourselves 2-0 down.

“If you don’t get that first goal that’s when the confidence seems to go a bit but today we got the goal.

“Again, it was through sheer persistence - Scott McManus working hard, and you get your rewards if you keep plugging away like that.

“Hopefully we can get one or two more bodies back because we need everybody fit to compete at this level.

“We don’t have the big resources of some of the others.

“We’d be a bit more worried if we’d had our full strength team out and we hadn’t won matches, but we haven’t.

“We know once we start to get players back we can start to compete against most teams in this league.”

Carroll says the win will relieve some pressure on everyone at the club after their awful run of form.

“It makes or breaks your weekend - I’ll probably talk to my kids this weekend!” joked Carroll.

“It does affect you. We’re just as frustrated as supporters. But the fans that came today were magnificent - they got behind the lads, and it’s just reward for them too.

“And I think the players showed at the end that they really appreciate the backing we got.”

Carroll had particular praise for some players who have had very little football this season, including debutant Michael Collins, who played for the first time since May 6.

“Jake Hibbs has been magnificent since he came back,” Carroll said. “Danny Clarke was playing on one leg for us.

“Cliff Moyo’s hardly played any football, and Micky Collins has come in without playing any football this season. He’s had one training session with us but we had to wrap him in cotton wool because we were struggling to fill the bench.

“I think he’s going to be a great addition for us because he gives you that organisation on the pitch which maybe we’ve been lacking at times, and a bit of game management, finishing games off.”

Carroll was also impressed by loanee George Waring, who played as a lone striker in the absence of the suspended Tom Denton.

“He led the line superbly because it’s a thankless task at times,” Carroll said.

“It would have been nice if he could have got himself on the scoresheet.

“He had a couple of half chances which he’ eluded to in the changing room that he’s a bit disappointed he didn’t get a shot off.

“But he kept the two centre-halves honest all afternoon, and I thought aerially he did ever so well.”

Carroll is now hopeful The Shaymen can build some momentum, which could be helped by the return of some injured players for next week’s game against Macclesfield in the FA Trophy, including winger Josh Macdonald and defender Michael Duckworth, both of whom could be in contention to play.

“We’ve never had a doubt that the players are behind us,” Carroll added. “It’s just a great reward for them because they’ve really been putting a shift in, they’ve just not had that bit of luck.

“We haven’t been able to play the same team week in, week out.

“You get one in but one goes out, two in, one out, three in, three out.

“But once we get that settled team and get our players back I know we’ll climb up the table.”

Carroll, who also confirmed that midfielder Harry Middleton’s loan expires before the Macclesfield game, said the club had agreed to extend the loan of right-back Josh Clackstone but new Hull manager Nigel Adkins wanted to assess all his players and recalled the defender.