Barrow 1-2 FC Halifax Town: Fullarton praises super sub Tomlinson after FA Trophy win

Football - FC Halifax Town v Eastleigh. Jamie Fullarton
Football - FC Halifax Town v Eastleigh. Jamie Fullarton

Town boss Jamie Fullarton praised match-winner Ben Tomlinson after the forward marked his comeback from injury with the decisive goal in Halifax’s 2-1 FA Trophy win at Barrow.

Skipper Matty Brown scored at both ends in awful conditions at Holker Street, before substitute Tomlinson notched the winner against his old club after Barrow had twice hit the post.

Tomlinson was making his first appearance since suffering an injury in the 1-1 draw at Sutton on September 1.

“We’ve got to be careful and make sure we manage the situation, because he’s been out for a while,” said Fullarton.

“Circumstances and situation meant he’s been involved probably sooner than we would have expected or really wanted.

“It’s about keeping the reins on Ben because he’s driving forward, but just to have him in the dressing room involved with the group, with his personality and influence, is great.

“The fact he’s come on and impacted and influenced the game, not just with his goal but in general, is great.

“But that’s something that I need to manage, expectation of Ben and the fans.

“Circumstances and situation provided that opportunity, and he didn’t half take it.”

Fullarton admitted the conditions played “a huge part” in the game, with pouring rain and strong winds throughout the match.

“It wasn’t for the faint-hearted, whether it be in the stands or on the pitch,” said the Town boss.

“I think when the elements are like that, it’s important that not only do you play against the opposition, but you have to manage those conditions, and great credit to us in being able to do that.”

When asked if he had ever been involved in a game with conditions like that, Fullarton said: “I’m Scottish, what do you think!

“But fortunately Barrow’s pitch is in such good condition that it was able to cope. I think with many pitches under the same extreme conditions, the game would have been off or abandoned.

“But the pitch held up well, and I thought we coped with such extreme conditions.

“It impacted and affected the flow of the game, and the quality of the game, and with us having the wind in our favour in the first-half and their favour in the second-half, it dominated and guided and shaped the game went.”

Did Town handle the conditions better on the day?

“It’s easy to say that in hindsight because we won 2-1,” Fullarton said.

“We were 1-0 up and with the conditions in our favour, and then were pegged back to 1-1.

“Then you’re under pressure, with the conditions and away from home against a team that have won three out of four, but our reaction to going 1-1 with 15 minutes to go wasn’t surprising but is a key element and ingredient we require to be successful and progress, and it’s pleasing to see that.”

When asked if he thought Town did enough to win the match, Fullarton said: “I thought the game was dominated and impacted and affected by the conditions.

“I think the ball spent more time out of touch than it did in play, so from that point of view it’s difficult.

“It’s about managing the conditions. It wasn’t a spectacle to say the least, but the important thing in a cup competition, which we value highly, is to win the game, and we did.”

Did Fullarton think winning the game was as much about Town’s attitude and approach as their technical ability?

“Yes, 100 per cent,” he said. “They were the key elements and factors in the game.

“At certain points it becomes irrelevant of your quality, and a lot of that’s to do with the conditions, which were extreme.

“I think the players to a man, as individuals, they responded as they have done. It sounds like I’m repeating myself, but whereas the conditions last week at Dagenham were different, it again shows the character, attitude and personality of the players how they responded.

“You’re under pressure with the conditions in the second-half, and you have a lead to hold onto, and you concede with 15 minutes to go - it’s a huge question asked of you.

“With the momentum with the opposition, on their home patch, with the conditions in their favour, our response was more than pleasing.”

Midfielder James Ferry made his debut for Town after joining on a three-month loan from Stevenage.

“I think you’ve seen today in terms of his contribution, he’s only been with us for two days, but he was involved in the winner with an excellent pass forward,” said Fullarton.

“He’s assured in possession, and he’s shown qualities without the ball, things that probably go unnoticed by many people, that I know will give us a platform to build upon and play from.

“I’m really pleased to have got James. I know him from his Brentford days when he started.

“I tried to get him in the summer and it was a no because they (Stevenage) see him as part of their plans.

“What he does is he fits into the culture we have at the football club in terms of his approach, his attitude, and he’’l contribute in games, like he did today, and when the conditions aren’t as extreme, even more so.”

Ferry’s arrival was certainly timely for Town, who were without midfielders James Berrett, Cameron King and Josh Staunton.

“It’s safe to say it’s pleasing but we wanted him beforehand, but I’m pleased that eventually I’ve been able to get him in the building,” Fullarton said.

“At the moment there’s no more news on the injuries, but as I keep saying, I can assure you we are working tirelessly to look to add to the squad.

“More often that not it’s to make sure we have competition for places, but it’s to prevent the impact or injuries and suspensions.

“Joe Skarz pulled out today late on with an injury, and Matty Kosylo was injured with something he’s been carrting.

“It’s impacted us. But it’s great credit to the group that they still put in a level of performance that’s managed the conditions, and more importantly, in a cup competition, have won the game.”

On the half-time substitution of right-back Jacob Hanson, Fullarton said: “He struggled with the conditions, with the cold.

“We had to make the change, but fortunately Michael was on hand, who’s been out injured himself, but he showed assurance and contributed in that second-half.

“Both him and Ben could have done with a game in terms of getting minutes, in terms of a friendly, but we haven’t been in a position to do that because we’re short on numbers.

“Unfortunately they’ve had to get minutes today in a first-team game, but they’re both experienced players with real quality that have shown what they can do.”