FC Halifax Town: Practice makes perfect for Town’s set-piece specialist

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Maidstone United, at The Shay. Ben Tomlinson
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Maidstone United, at The Shay. Ben Tomlinson

Ben Tomlinson says practice has made perfect for Halifax, who have scored nearly half their goals from set-pieces so far this season.

Four of Town’s 10 goals have come from corners by Tomlinson, including both in the opening day win at Braintree, Matty Brown’s header against Barrow and Jonathan Edwards’ winner against Dagenham and Redbridge last Saturday.

“I can’t really do much more for the boys can I!” joked Tomlinson, who says he doesn’t recall taking any corners last season.

“If I keep putting them in then hopefully we’ll keep getting the goals.

“It’s something that we’ve worked on. It’s not just something that’s guess work.

“It’s not come out of nowhere. We’re always working on where the ball’s getting delivered, where the runs are, the interchange between the players in the box.

“It’s not luck.

“It’s not something you work on every day, but when we work on them, we do it so that everybody knows their job roles, everybody knows where the ball’s getting delivered, which makes it easier for players to get on the end of crosses.”

Town sit second in the National League after four wins from their first five games.

“You can’t really ask for much more points-wise - 12 points out of 15. Absolutely fantastic start,” said Tomlinson.

“Can we play better? Yeah. So when we finally turn that screw then we’ll be really, really good.

“You can’t really grumble. Can we get better? Yeah we can, and we’re working hard on the training pitch to do that.”

When asked where he thought Town could improve, he said: “We’ve done all the dirty work. All the effort and enthusiasm and the running.

“Maybe after that we’ve got to look at retaining the ball a bit better, looking after it and playing through our patterns a bit more.

“But that comes with time and the team’s still gelling.”

Is Tomlinson surprised by Town’s superb start?

“Not one little bit. You look at pre-season, but we were all trying to figure out what our job roles were, in a new team, all trying to figure each other out, which takes a few games.

“We’ve played five games now, and what we’ve worked on is working, and it’s pleasing.

“Credit to the boys all over the pitch. It’s not an individual game, there’s no superstars, we’ve got everybody mucking in.

“Sam Johnson made two absolutely top-drawer saves on Saturday, and that’s why he’s there.

“Browny and Clarkey were colossal again at centre-half. You’ve got your legs in midfield, your full-backs that help out the defenders, and then your front four that are trying to cause terror.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to implement. We’re getting better but the main thing is the results, and we need to keep those wins coming.”

Tomlinson is pleased by his own early form in the campaign, having become a key component in Jamie Fullarton’s side with some hard-working performances, coupled with developing an encouraging understanding with his fellow forward players.

Tomlinson feels he has played well in every game “other than Salford”.

“I thought I was poor in that game,” he added.

“Obviously I do all the ugly stuff. I am an ugly player!

“It’s got to be done, it’s got to come from somewhere on the pitch.

“But it’s been a good start from me and I need to keep it going.”