FC Halifax Town 2-2 Solihull Moors: Substitutes contributed massively, says Town boss Fullarton

Manager Jamie Fullarton at FC Halifax Town v Solihull, FA Trophy at the Shay
Manager Jamie Fullarton at FC Halifax Town v Solihull, FA Trophy at the Shay

Town boss Jamie Fullarton praised the impact of substitutes Cameron King and Jonathan Edwards after Halifax fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Solihull Moors in the FA Trophy at The Shay.

Goals from Adi Yussuf and Nathan Blissett looked to have booked Solihull’s place in the third round, but Dayle Southwell, set-up by King, and Matty Kosylo, from a free-kick won by Edwards, found the net to force a replay on Tuesday night.

When asked if he thought it was a fair result, Fullarton said: “It depends how you define fair. Apart from a 15 minute spell at the beginning of the second-half I thought we were the better team in many aspects.

“I thought we dealt reasonably well with the directness of Solihull and what they are.

“To go 2-0 in that 15 minute spell, where they created chances from what they are, and not to defend two crosses, they were poor goals from our point of view.

“But then to get back ion the game, and have a gilt-edged, clear cut chance in the last minute, you’re almost sitting here feeling half disappointed.

“But overall I think we passed the ball much better (than Braintree), I thought we created reasonable opportunities in that final third, and were back to a level of what we expect, against a team that’s third in the league.

“We’ve played four games out of the last five against top six teams, and we’re undefeated, so let’s put it into context.

“We were 2-0 down, but we got back in it and thoroughly deserved it.

“The manner in which we conceded the goals, it would have been a giveaway (if they had lost) and on reflection of the game.”

When asked what his thoughts were at 2-0 down, Fullarton said: “Perplexed. Even when we went 2-2, I’m still perplexed from the goals we lost, because of what we do and how we work.

“A lot of coaching is about your structure, your organisation, to give the platform to go and get into that final third.

“We created a number of opportunities, but it’s also about not giving opportunities away.

“So to lose two goals like we did, which were cheap and easy, then I was perplexed even at 2-2.

“Then we had two half-chances and the chance in the last minute where we slid the ball when we should have shot, and shot when we should have slid it, and we were guilty of that in the first-half.

“We had some great passages, some intricate play, we moved the ball much better (than against Braintree) which created the opportunities, and that’s pleasing.

“If we’d have won the game by the odd goal or more, then I don’t think anybody, including Solihull Moors, could be disappointed with it.”

King made his first appearance since December 1 after recovering from a knee injury, and was hugely influential in the comeback.

Fullarton said: “Both substitutions (King and Edwards) had an impact, and that’s where you make substitutions, they make an impact and you get a result, and it’s great decisions.

“But when you make the decisions and it doesn’t have the same impact or influence....you make the substitutions based on how you see the game panning out.

“But there’s other factors that influence that in terms of what players need, coming back from injury, where they’re at.

“I work with them all week so that influences your decisions on when to take players off, put players on etc.

“It’s a bit more complex than ‘we’re losing the game, let’s make a change’.

“I made the changes quickly when we went 2-0 down, why? Because we want to win the game, and both contributed massively, and that’s pleasing.

“But there were a number of people on the pitch throughout the 90 minutes that also contributed too.

“It’s a calculated risk bringing James Berrett and bringing Cameron back in like I have, and sometimes it can backfire on you.”

When asked whether Town can take heart from the result and have no need to fear Solihull going into Tuesday’s replay, the Town boss said: “I don’t think we’re guilty of fearing anyone.

“When you understand who you’re playing, what their strengths are and how you can exploit their weaknesses, and we’re prepared and have players with a mentality that will give you everything, then quite rightly, I think that’s 11 or 12 games against top seven teams and we’ve lost one.

“So therefore, it’s not just today that gives you heart because it’s over a period of time that we’ve proved we can match, on our day.

“Where we need to improve and progress is that level of turning reasonable performances, creating lots of chances and drawing games, into winning games.”

Winger Ben Tomlinson missed the game after failing to recover from a knee problem.

“He’s had a reaction on his knee so he won’t be available for Tuesday,” Fullarton confirmed..

“That’s one of those where Ben’s come in and had a real impact, and was just getting to the point where he was getting back up to speed and his level.

“But that’s unfortunately an uncontrollable that happened, and no matter how much you manage situations, these things can happen.

“So we just have to wait a little bit of time for the swelling to ease, and see how he responds to what we’re doing with him, to have him back as soon as possible.”

Fullarton, who was in the rare position of having senior players watching on from the stands - with the likes of Mekhi McLeod, Sanmi Odelusi, Ryan Sellers and Josh Staunton not involved in the squad, said he is still looking to add to his squad.

“When you have a small, tight squad, you need to have a fully-fit, tight squad available, and we’re getting closer to that,” he added.

“I think we were in this position for the first month of the season, hence why we got the results and our position in the league.

“We’re still working and looking to add (to the squad), to make sure we keep progressing and ride momentum.

“Over the last 10, 11, 12 games, I think it’s two defeats, but we’ve got to convert some of those draws into wins, and that’s a key factor.”