Draw suits neither side, says Aspin after Gateshead thriller

Neil Aspin
Neil Aspin

A result that suits neither team - that was the verdict from FC Halifax Town boss Neil Aspin after a pulsating 2-2 draw against Gateshead at the Shay.

Two goals by James Bolton were sandwiched between efforts by Carl Finnigan and Josh Gillies, who was later sent-off, in a keenly-contested match between the two play-off hopefuls.

Both teams are now five points adrift of the top-five with one game in hand and Aspin admitted the result wasn’t what either side would have wanted.

“It’s draining to watch when you’re a manager,” he said.

“It was end-to-end, could have been any score, loads of incidents.

“But it’s a result that didn’t suit either side.

“Both teams needed to win. I think that’s what you’ve seen at the end with both teams gambling, trying to get the victory.

“I thought there was a lot of commitment from both teams out there on a really difficult surface.

“It’s probably harder to play on it now since it’s dried out because it makes it so bobbly.

“Both teams tried their best, of course we wanted to win, but so did Gateshead.

“I think both teams put on an entertaining game.

“You can look at things in a positive way and say we haven’t been beaten in the last six but we haven’t won either so it depends how you want to call things.

“I’ve always said we’d be competitive in every game and that’s what we’re proving to be.

“But we’re just not getting the wins that would have pushed us higher up the table.”

It’s now six draws on the spin for The Shaymen and four consecutive draws between them and Gateshead, and Aspin, who confirmed striker Richard Peniket is expected to be out for the rest of the season. said a share of the spoils was probably a fair result.

“In previous games I’ve felt we deserved the three points but tonight I think in the first-half Gateshead had the better opportunities,” he said.

“Second-half we pushed more but again they’ve had a couple of opportunities so it was probably a fair result.

“If either team had lost they would have been very disappointed.

“We’ve had four games now with Gateshead and they’ve all been draws but it’s a result that suits neither team.”

Aspin said Bolton’s first goal came at a good time and helped to rouse the home crowd of just over 1,000.

He said: “I think we needed it because there’s no atmosphere in the stadium.

“When you’ve got a stadium this size and the crowd is so low and there’s no atmosphere it’s so hard.

“We needed a goal to get us back in the game.

“We’ve had times when the atmosphere’s been really good and at the moment it’s very flat and on the pitch you need a spark to lift things.

“I think second-half with the play we had it did lift it a bit but it is difficult because it’s a big, open stadium and when you’ve got 1,000 people in it doesn’t generate much atmosphere.”

Bolton was praised by the Town boss, who believes there’s a lot more to come from the full-back.

“He’s got a knack of scoring goals, a knack of finding space in the box and he anticipates things well,” Aspin said.

“He’s only a young lad and he is going to get better.

“As a manager you make a lot of signings, some come off and some don’t but ever since I took him on loan I’ve always thought he could develop into a really good player.

“He just needs to believe in himself more and certainly getting those two goals will help him no end.

“He’s done well and the fact that Kevin Roberts is not playing shows that I’ve got a lot of faith in Bolts because Kevin’s a good player as well.”

Gillies’ equaliser came in controversial circumstances, with Town claiming Michael Rankine had fouled Matt Glennon in the build-up to the goal.

“I’d like to see it again,” said Aspin. “Everybody says Matty was fouled, and Matty himself says he was fouled.

“There were a lot of incidents during the game where I didn’t agree with the decision.

“When their manager says it’s one of the worst refereeing performances he’s seen and I’m not happy with it either then obviously there’s got to be a problem with the standard of refereeing tonight.”