Aspin: Players did me proud against Bristol Rovers

FC Halifax Town v Bristol Rovers at The Shay Stadium. Lois Maynard
FC Halifax Town v Bristol Rovers at The Shay Stadium. Lois Maynard

Neil Aspin said his FC Halifax Town players did him proud after they drew 2-2 with high-flying Bristol Rovers at the Shay.

Town raced into a 2-0 half-time lead but succumbed to a late fightback by Rovers, who are now joint-top with Barnet in the Conference.

The Town boss said his side gave it a good go against Rovers and believed the visitors were pushed all the way.

He said: “We gave it a good effort, I’m really pleased with the players.

“I thought they did me proud as manager.

“Obviously when you’ve got a 2-0 lead and the opposition score late goals you’re disappointed.

“But I’d like to take more positives from the game than negatives.

“We played against a very good team with experienced players who don’t lose many games and we’ve pushed them really close.

“They’ve had to really dig deep to get the result so I’m pleased with the performance.

“We’ve got to try and play at that level for the remainder of the season if we can.”

Aspin thought his side tired towards the end of the match after a pleasing first-half display.

“In the first-half we were on top and I thought we were very good,” he said.

“In the second-half, Bristol could afford to gamble and push men forward.

“They were taking a chance of getting caught on the break but they’ve got three players in midfield who’ve all played in the Football League so they got on the ball and were trying to create something.

“As a part-time team we do compete fitness-wise very well but we did tire a bit, certainly in the last half-hour where I would have liked to have tried to press higher up.

“When you get a bit tired you tend to take a step back.

“If we could have maintained the pressing we did in the first-half for 90 minutes then I think we would have won.

“But they probably had a bit more fitness at the end and we sat back a bit and showed a bit of tiredness.

“I give them credit as well, they kept pushing and showed great determination to stay in the game.

“It was a good game, a good advert for the league.”

The Town boss considered Town’s half-time lead a vulnerable one but was happy to see his team return to scoring ways after their recent drought was ended in the previous game at Aldershot.

“It was a good goal, a good move,” he said of Lois Maynard’s opener.

“Nice to see Lois get a goal.

“He had a run where he scored a few and then in the last few games he’s not managed to score.

“And as a team we’ve not managed to score many so it was nice to see that goal.

“I had a feeling that one wouldn’t be enough today and 2-0 gave us a cushion.

“But you never say you’re going to win, even at 2-0, because you know if the opposition get a goal it pushes you back and that’s what happened.

“It was a great strike for their first goal and that gave them the impetus to keep pushing forward.”

Rovers’ equaliser came from Ellis Harrison, the same player who notched a dramatic late winner in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Aspin added: “It was sickening to see him score today but I probably felt worse at Bristol with it being in injury-time with a deflection.

“We haven’t had the nest of luck with him because it looked a great touch but Robbo (Marc Roberts) said he didn’t mean it so if that’s the case we’ve been a bit unfortunate.

“But we have to try and play like we did in the first-half for as long as possible in games and if we do that we’ve shown we can compete with all the teams in the league.”