Dover 0-0 FC Halifax Town: Heath praises ‘magnificent’ Town players

Football - FC Halifax Town v Fylde. Billy Heath
Football - FC Halifax Town v Fylde. Billy Heath

Town boss Billy Heath said his players were “magnificent” in their 0-0 draw at Dover on Saturday.

The result means Town end 2017 on a high with a hard-fought point at promotion-chasing Dover, who were restricted to few goalscoring chances by a hard--working Halifax, who had Danny Clarke sent-off late on for two bookings.

“I thought we put a really good shift in,” Heath said. “The players were magnificent.

“I’m sure we should have had a penalty on Josh Macdonald in the first-half. It looked a penalty all day long from where I was.

“But when you’re in our position away at Dover you don’t get that.

“I thought the referee was absolutely excellent. He allowed the players to get on with the game, which you don’t usually find nowadays.

“I thought he allowed the players to sort themselves out at times, which was really refreshing, and I told the referee what a good game he had.

“How you get sent to Dover in the Christmas period is beyond belief. And we’ve got to play again in 36 hours or whatever it is.

“But all the players were absolutely tremendous. You know what Dover are going to do, they’re very physical, recycle second balls, put the ball on top of you at every opportunity, very strong. But we more than matched them.”

Heath admitted the game wasn’t a great spectacle but demonstrated the spirit among his squad.

“This is a difficult place to go and we really restricted them to very little,” he said.

“Their home record is superb and it was a war of attrition at times but we said before the game that we had to match their physicality and their dynamics.

“It was always going to be tight. It was always going to be tough because we had a tough game against Macclesfield.

“But the players showed what a fantastic bunch they are, how they all work for each other, want to play for each other.”

When asked what he was most pleased with from the game, the Town boss said: “Clean sheet. I thought we defended really well. We had to move Cliff Moyo inside because we had a choice to make at centre-half. We were thinking about Josh Wilde and other options.

“But the whole back four were outstanding, as were the team.

“The midfielders were too because you have to be on top of people every second of the game because of the way they play.

“They had energy, desire, experience from Michael Collins. Everybody played their part.”

Michael Duckworth made his first appearance since limping off against Guiseley on August 26, replacing injured captain Matty Brown.

“Michael’s got all the qualities you want,” Heath said. “It’s a massive plus for him and the fitness work he’s done that he can come in on a very soft, heavy pitch when he’s not kicked a ball.

“In an ideal world he has 60 minutes and we take him off but we don’t have the players for it, so he has to go through the 90. But he was blowing at 60 minutes.”

On Clarke’s sending-off, Heath said: “I think it looked worse than it was. He’s gone for the tackle because Danny’s Danny and he’ll put everything into the game but I think he pulled out and didn’t catch the lad, but the referee’s seen it as that.”