FC Halifax Town 0-0 Ebbsfleet: Fullarton takes the positives out of draw against play-off contenders

Halifax Town v Solihull moors 23.3.19'Jamie Fullarton
Halifax Town v Solihull moors 23.3.19'Jamie Fullarton

Town boss Jamie Fullarton said his side couldn’t complain about their 0-0 draw with play-off contenders Ebbsfleet at The Shay.

Halifax have taken four points from their last two games against top-eight teams Solihull and Ebbsfleet, and kept clean sheets against both of them.

It is now just nine goals conceded in 20 home league games for The Shaymen, and nine-and-a-half hours since they last let in a goal at home.

“When you see the two chances in the first five minutes of the game, then you’re disappointed,” said Fullarton.

“But when you have two injuries during the game that impacts you, forcing you to shuffle the pack, then I don’t think you can complain about a draw.”

Fullarton said injuries to Niall Maher and Michael Duckworth early in the second-half disrupted the momentum of his team.

“Yeah, hugely. But I don’t think you can say that when we made the changes, we tried to shut up shop,” he said.

“We put attacking players on to go and try to win the game.

“But it does limit the changes you can make to kick on in the last 20 minutes.

“That’s what I’ve talked about before regarding having changes off the bench to win games.

“I think the two enforced changes being to defensive players when we went with a real attacking bench does impact you, and it probably disrupted our rhythm a touch.

“When you look at that, a clean sheet, we created chances against a team that’s pushing for the play-offs, then I suppose you shouldn’t really be disappointed with a draw.”

Fullarton praised the contribution of goalkeeper Sam Johnson in the game, but never felt under serious threat of defeat.

“There’s always a spell in every game where the opposition are on top, and with Ebbsfleet it was in the second-half,” said the Town boss.

“I think Sam (Johnson) made a very good save in the first-half, whilst we were on top, but I can’t remember him having anything that kept us in the game in the second-half.

“They’re strong at what they do, they have a direct style the way they play.

“Overall, the barometer I work off in terms of red, amber and green, it was never really in red.”

Town have now kept six consecutive clean sheets at The Shay, and are closing in on 10 hours without conceding on their own patch.

“It’s great credit to the players,” Fullarton said. “The back four and the goalkeeper have a huge impact on that, but you have to give credit to everyone on the pitch.

“It’s not by chance, they work hard on it all through the week.

“It’s a difficult feat to have. To concede nine goals in 20 (home) games is a fantastic record and it shows a real understanding of what’s being asked of them.

“It is pleasing, but we’ll be looking to do that in the next six games as well.”

A mass melee broke out after the full-time whistle involving most of the 22 players on the pitch and staff from both benches.

“It was handbags,” said Fullarton. “You’re trying to separate it as a manager so it doesn’t kick off.

“There was a wild challenge by (Chris) Bush just on the full-time whistle, and then he’s grabbed Matty Kosylo.

“It seems to have boiled over when he’s had a swipe at him during the game, and grabbed him round the throat.

“You just want to calm it down and get players away from it.”

On loanees Manny Duku and Devante Rodney, whose loans expired after the game, Fullarton said: “We borrow, beg and steal. We’ve done OK with bringing players in who have fitted in the environment we provide, and bought into the culture of the group, and had an impact and effect on and off the pitch.

“You don’t have to be a football expert to see the impact they’ve had, which is pleasing.

“But because of circumstances and situation, we are borrowing, begging and stealing, so you’re reliant on other factors you don’t control determining how long you keep them.

“It’s all positive signs from both players. I think the way they play, how they are, suggests how much they’re enjoying it, and they’re enhancing what we are.

“It just gives you that edge, and means we’re a real threat and look likely to win games when we play (well), not just not lose games.”

When asked if he would like to keep the pair until the end of the season, Fullarton replied: “Yeah, and beyond. But you’ve got to be realistic, and you’ve got to understand the constraints you work within.

“Any manager that brings in two strikers that score five goals between them in a month, and convert those draws into wins, then that’s a rhetorical question from my point of view.

“Obviously it’s a decision from us as a club, can we do it?”

Fullarton said it looked like Maher and Duckworth had both suffered muscle injuries.

“It’s too early to say (how long they’ll be out for), they can settle down, but it’s difficult to put a time-scale on it at the moment.

“No matter what squad you have, you need a bit of luck when it comes to injuries.

“When injuries impact you, it makes it difficult.”

Town are waiting on a consultation regarding the extent of Ryan Sellers’ injury, but Fullarton admitted the squad is starting to become stretched again,

“Yeah it is, in certain areas. It does impact and effect what you do.

“We’ve had times in the season when we’ve had 13 players, and players have responded to it.

“It gives someone else an opportunity to play and perform and stay in the team.”