FC Halifax Town: Harvey overjoyed as Town reach Trophy semi-finals

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Jim Harvey described FC Halifax Town’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Gateshead in the FA Trophy as an “incredible night”.

Town reached the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in their history after the game finished 3-3 after extra-time, with Connor Hughes scoring in added time at the end of normal time.

That was only half the story of a remarkable match, which left Harvey overjoyed that his side had squeezed through.

He said: “At the moment I’m exhausted and my voice has nearly gone.

“It was an incredible night the way it’s panned out.

“We’ve had the wind and rain up here but the attitude and the commitment of the boys - they’re full of it and they demonstrated it tonight in that performance.

“It looked like it was all over, but with the last kick of the ball virtually we equalise and stay in the game.

“Then we go in front and then, lo and behold, right at the end of the game we’ve got a great chance with little Shaq (McDonald) to win it.

“A great bit of football, Josh Macdonald’s put a great ball through but Shaq wasn’t able to convert it.

“We went to penalty kicks and the big man Sam (Johnson) has come up with a terrific save for us.

“Then it comes down to Matty Brown, who put two or three in the car park last night when we were practising and you think ‘what’s going to happen?’

“But he’s brave enough to get up because one or two of them ducked it.

“It was a terrific penalty and it’s got us through, which was a major effort by us, it really was.

“Fair play to Gateshead, they pushed and pushed and pushed.

“There was a lot at stake tonight and both teams put in a real stern effort.

“But I’m absolutely delighted we’ve come out on top.”

Harvey admitted The Shaymen weren’t at their best for most of the game, but felt they showed the right attitude to help them progress.

“Some of the boys were feeling a bit of tension, that’s something we’ve look to overcome, but the further we got into the game we got rid of some of that inhibition and tension and then some of the performances, particularly in extra-time, went through the roof,” he said.

“I thought there were some really big characters in there which was what we needed..

“We were hanging in there, Gateshead had three or four opportunities to put it out of sight but we hung in, rode our luck.

“Eventually we got back into the game, took the lead and should have wrapped it up ourselves.

“We’ve got a lot of good characters in there.”

Harvey made a double change midway through the second-half that eventually helped the visitors turn the game around, one of which saw Hughes brought on.

Harvey said: “We were 1-0 down so we had to make our subs, make a change and try and get after them.

“Connor’s come up with what was probably one of his first touches of the game and it was a great finish.

“I wasn’t worried about the fitness levels because our boys can dig deep - they’ve showed that time and time again and they’ve showed that tonight.

“I was more concerned about the quality and could we get enough football going to create that chance, but it’s all worked out brilliantly for us.”