Aspin takes pressure off the Shaymen

Boss Neil Aspin believes the pressure is off his side as they prepare to face Gainsborough Trinity in the Blue Square Bet North play offs.

The Shaymen will travel to Northolme on Wednesday for the first leg of the semi finals - the return will be at the Shay on Sunday - with Nuneaton or Guiseley awaiting the winners.

And Aspin is expecting his team to flourish, having clinched third place in the table with a 2-1 win at Solihull Moors in the final regular season game on Saturday.

“I felt there was more pressure to get into the play offs,” he said. “Now we can just give it our best shot and see what happens.

“I have been in football a long time and seen it all before.

“I knew that if we were to have a bad performance on Saturday and lose we wouldn’t have made it to the play offs.

“After the loss at Stalybridge we said we would probably need three wins and a draw and the players have responded.

“All the teams in the play offs have done well to get there, they deserve to be there and you can’t pick and choose who you play.

“It has taken me a little bit by surprise that we have finished third to be honest.

“I think a few weeks ago I would have just settled for being in the play offs.

“If we can get a reasonable result on Wednesday we are set up for a home game on Sunday and potentially a big crowd which is what we want.”

Third place was a long way from Town’s thoughts when they slipped to 16th place in mid September after crashing to a shocking defeat at home to Vauxhall Motors.

“We have come a long way since the early days of the season,” said Aspin. “When you look back to the 5-1 defeat against Vauxhall and when we were two down at Guiseley and you could never have seen from that point that we would finish third in the table.

“It is credit to the players because they have got the results. All teams playing on Saturday were under a bit of pressure but I thought they coped and gave a good performance.”

Lee Gregory fired the Shaymen ahead late in the first half with Sean Clancy doubling their lead early in the second.

Craig Hinton pulled one back from the penalty spot inside the final quarter but Town always looked comfortable.

“We played with a good tempo and should have been more than 1-0 up at half time,” said Aspin.

“We should have been three or four goals up because we had a lot of possession and they never troubled us.

“But you would not expect things to be too easy as we found by conceding the goal.

“It could have made us a bit nervy, but the players were composed and coped well with the occasion.”

Town fans wishing to book their place on the official coaches for Wednesday’s game at Gainsborough can do so by calling 07707 143094 (after 5pm).

The cost, again subsidised by Halifax Town’s directors, is £5 with donations welcome. Transport leaves the Shay at 5.30.