FC Halifax Town: Afternoon full of highs and lows, says Harvey

Actions from Halifax Town v Nantwich, at the Shay Stadium, Halifax
Actions from Halifax Town v Nantwich, at the Shay Stadium, Halifax

Jim Harvey admitted to a rollercoaster of emotions after seeing his FC Halifax Town side reach the final of the FA Trophy.

The Shaymen looked set for a comfortable passage to their first ever Wembley final when Jordan Burrow put them ahead after four minutes.

But by half-time they were behind after goals by Liam Shotton and Matt Bailey.

An Andy White own goal in the 90th minute finally settled the nerves at The Shay, with Harvey admitting then and only then could he relax about the result.

He said: “We scored first and you think ‘terrific, now we’re on a run’ but then the next half-hour was shocking.

“They equalised, then they go ahead.

“We got a penalty kick and a goal disallowed and your emotions are up and down.

“From virtually having won the game it looked more likely we were going to lose it.

“It was highs and lows all afternoon and it wasn’t until eventually we got the equaliser that we secured the result.”

Harvey praised the visitors from the Evo-Stik Premier Division, who outplayed their hosts for long periods before finally succumbing to Town last-minute equaliser, which put Harvey’s side out of reach.

“Nantwich are an excellent side. You can understand why they’ve got this far,” Harvey said.

“Their football was excellent, they’ve got some very good players and they play the game the right way - exciting, interesting, full of talent.

“Although we were 2-0 up it was never over in my mind.”

Harvey insists his first thoughts are still on avoiding relegation from the National League, despite being the first manager in Halifax’s history to reach a Wembley final.

“Personally it doesn’t mean a lot to me,” he said. “If you could tell me we would be safe in the league, then that’s my goal, I’ve got to keep the club up.

“Now we’ve achieved Wembley, that’s for everyone else to enjoy.

“I want to focus on getting league results.

“What this result will do for the team is fill them full of confidence, everybody will want to play at Wembley so they’ll have to maintain their level of performance to stay in the team.

“From my point of view that’s good, that’ll help me.”

But Harvey did concede it had been a remarkable transformation from the team he inherited last year, with Town bottom of the table when he took charge.

“It’s unbelievable. The run of results we’ve had and the way we’ve turned it around,” he reflected.

“It’s been a tremendous two or three months and you’ve got to look at the players for the effort they’ve put in.

“The defence in particular - the goals we were conceding were just ridiculous. There were people in there that didn’t look like players.

“Now we look like a team and their performances have been unbelievable.

“Collectively they’ve come together and they’re really working for one another.

“The transformation has been unbelievable.

“The supporters weren’t happy with what they’d had over the past year and things weren’t good.

“Before I came the word was Halifax were already doomed, there was no hope for them.

“I believe they’ve restored a lot of pride to the supporters.”