FC Halifax Town 0-1 Sutton: We should have got a point at the very least, says Fullarton

FC Halifax Town v Sutton United. Jamie Fullarton for Halifax.
FC Halifax Town v Sutton United. Jamie Fullarton for Halifax.

Town boss Jamie Fullarton said his side should have come away with a point at the very least after Craig Eastmond’s stoppage time winner in Sutton’s 1-0 win at The Shay.

Halifax were again left to rue a lack of quality in the final third as they failed to turn their superiority into victory before Eastmond’s smart finish from a low cross consigned The Shaymen to defeat.

“I thought we were never in any danger in the game,” said Fullarton.

“Our intention was to try and play in a certain way and at times, we showed little passages and spells of that.

“But their game plan and how they play didn’t make it a spectacle to say the least. they broke up play, and ultimately, it’s worked for them.

“I think there’s a total contrast in how they approached the game. It looked like they were playing for a draw and they’ve stolen all three points.”

Fullarton admitted not even coming away with a point when Town arguably deserved all three on the balance of play was tough to take.

“Hugely, without a doubt,” he said. “There was no balance of play because they didn’t play.

“We had an intention. We just lacked a bit of quality in that final third, we overhit things, although we’d seen the pass and the movement was good.

“We had a number of shots that were blocked and different things where they’ve understood what was asked of them.

“Their approach, against a team that played in a different style and a different manner, I give them great credit for.

“It is disappointing, not only to take the point you’re given at the beginning of the game, but over the piece of the game, it’s disappointing not to take three points, and the manner of how we lost the goal, and when we lost the goal, we’re better than that.

“That’s what makes it even more difficult.”

Assistant manager Phil Hughes said after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Boreham Wood that it was as “opportunity missed” by Town to claim three points, and Fullarton said it was the same again against Sutton.

“Hugely. What you look for is a performance and an approach to be consistent to give you the best chance of having consistent outcomes,” Fullarton said.

“But I don’t like that phrase ‘hard done-by’ or ‘unlucky’, which you could probably label us in the last couple of games.

“We want to be better than that, and we’ve got to do better to manage the game and not allow that to happen, because it is a sucker-punch.

“But with the hectic schedule we have, it gives us a game in three days’ time to go again.”

On Eastmond’s added time winner, Fullarton said: “I will have to look at it again, without emotion, because when you’re bitterly disappointed at things that happen throughout a game, you tend to view them differently because of the filter you look through.

“But there’s certain areas where I feel we’re better, and we know better, and do better, hence the number of clean sheets we’ve had.

“That’s where it’s disappointing.”

Next up for Town is a tough-looking Boxing Day trip to fourth-placed Harrogate Town.

“I talk about me as manager and everyone else being balanced in their approach, and I think that’s what you’ve got to do,” said Fullarton.

“It’s being honest with yourself and each other.

“The manner we lost the goal wasn’t good enough. A lot of the parts of the game were good enough.

“So it’s identifying the areas we need to do better in, and making sure that come Wednesday when we’ve got the derby game, that we are focused and that for the 98 minutes, we apply ourselves and work off that platform of our shape and structure which has served us so well over the last three months.”

Fullarton said midfielder Cameron King and defender Joe Skarz were both suffering knee injuries and that they were not close to being back involved, and neither was midfielder James Berrett, who is still recovering from a haematoma.

“We do need more bodies. I continuously say it, and I’ll continue to beat that drum,” Fullarton said.

“You need a competitive squad to generate that competition for places.

“But we don’t only need that, we need players to come in because of the injuries and suspensions we’ve had, because we’ve got a small, tight squad.

“But there’s many things that influence and impact bringing players in.

“One that doesn’t is the amount of energy, time and work I’m doing in trying to bring players into this football club.”

One player Fullarton has managed to sign is loanee James Ferry, who again impressed in midfield against Sutton.

“He’s contributed exactly how I thought he would, and he’s added value to us,” Fullarton said.

“We’re looking for progression, we want quality players coming in.

“Again, there’s many factors that influence it. I can’t be any clearer than that.

“The time and energy I spend on the recruitment, or the intention to bring players in, is probably more than anyone could imagine, on a weekly basis. That’s a fact.

“But there’s lots of things I don’t control in the market we’re in, and the level we’re at. There’s bigger and stronger competitors who are also in the market, so it’s tough.

“But that doesn’t drain my enthusiasm or my desire as I continue to work to bring quality players to the club.”

On the possibility of bids coming in for any of his players, Fullarton said: “When you talk about recruitment, you recruit from within first and foremost, so whatever’s in-house, you look to keep.

“You can’t stop people looking at our players, or wanting our players, that’s the nature of the game.

“But I think it’s clear the players buy in to what we’re trying to do. I don’t think there’s any doubt about their approach, their attitude, their willingness, their desire - I’ve not seen that wane from any of the players.

“There’s just certain areas where we need to do better and that’s what we’ll continue to work on.

“At the very least today we should have come away with a point. We totally controlled the game, which was scrappy, and wasn’t for the purists to say the least.

“But it takes two teams to make a spectacle. But I thought our players’ approach was right, and that’s why it’s even more disappointing.”