FC Halifax Town: Salford joint-manager Morley says his team will embrace play-off clash at The Shay

Bernard Morley. Picture: Charlotte Tattersall/Salford City FC
Bernard Morley. Picture: Charlotte Tattersall/Salford City FC

Salford joint-manager Bernard Morley insists there will be no fear from his side going into Sunday’s play-off semi-final second-leg at The Shay.

The Manchester club looked to be heading for defeat until substitute James Poole’s 86th minute equaliser following Richard Peniket’s first-half opener.

Morley, who manages the team along with Anthony Johnson, says Wednesday’s draw has set-up the return leg at Halifax nicely.

“We fear nobody,” he said. “That’s the type of changing room we’ve got. We embrace what it is. We’re overwhelmed to be here.

“It’s been a long season, it’s a good league, a good standard. If you’d given us the chance to say if we win on Sunday we’re through to the final, we’d have taken that.

“We’re not chasing the game, it’s level, and whoever wins on the day goes through, it’s as simple as that.

“If we’d won 2-0 on Wednesday we know Halifax would have thrown the kitchen sink at us and they’re dangerous at home.

“They’ve got lads who haven’t been involved in the tie yet that can hurt us. We’d like to think we know a lot about them, and I think Halifax will say the same about us.

“I’m really looking forward to it and we’re confident. I don’t think we’ll be over-confident. It’s another game but there’s a lot more at stake.”

Morley is optimistic there won’t be a repeat of Salford’s second-half performance in their 4-2 defeat at The Shay in January, when The Ammies squandered a 2-0 half-time lead.

He also believes Salford carry the momentum going into the second-leg due to the timing of their equaliser.

On Poole’s goal, he said: “It’s massive in terms of the psychological and mental side going into Sunday.

“Halifax are as strong a side defensively as we’ve played. They’ve got some big boys. But we feel we’ve learned from the mistakes that cost us the 4-2 defeat there. Billy will know what mistakes they made in that game, we do as well. Hopefully it’s a replica of Wednesday’s game. It wasn’t a one-sided game, it was a good, end-to-end contest.

“We have to replicate what we did on Wednesday, build pressure for 94 minutes.

“Going behind at home in such an important game is difficult because the crowd can get on your back, but they didn’t do that. They roared us on and we stayed positive throughout the game.

“The substitutes made an impact when they came on. They showed desire, and determination to get the tie back to where we wanted it.

“We could have pinched it at the end but Billy will say the same. It was entertaining. The crowd couldn’t go away saying it wasn’t a good game.

“It was a great game for non-league and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

When asked about the importance of the first goal on Sunday, Morley replied: “For us, the first goal is massively important. It’s a one-off game so it’s just as important for either team. Billy might say it’s more important for them because we know the crowd will get on Halifax’s back if we score the first goal. Will we go defensive, who knows?

“But what’s important is that, if we do go one-nil down, we do what we’ve done in the first-leg, continue to do the right things, use the ball in the right areas.”

Morley was impressed by The Shaymen’s game-plan on Wednesday, as well as his team’s never-say-die attitude.

“I think Billy came not to lose on Wednesday,” Morley added. “He set up his side really well. They were strong and they defended really well.

“They’ll probably feel deflated because we scored late on. We built pressure really well and the equaliser was always going to come. We were sure we would score and we told the lads at half-time to continue doing what they’d done.

“Halifax had one shot in the first-half and scored. Great game plan, not taking anything away from them, because that’s the way they set-up.

“It came from a throw-in in our own half, which is a disappointing way to concede. But respect to Billy and how he set-up his team, they were solid on set-pieces in both boxes and I think it was a fair result.

“They got the goal but I thought our lads did really well to get back in the game and not crumble.

“I’m pleased and I’d have taken going there on Sunday knowing we’ve got to win 1-0 to go through. We’d have taken that.”