FC Halifax Town: Southwell hoping to conjure up more FA Cup magic

Actions from Halifax Town v Leyton Orient, at The Shay. Dayle Southwell
Actions from Halifax Town v Leyton Orient, at The Shay. Dayle Southwell

“It was crazy, probably the craziest moment of my career.”

Dayle Southwell only played three games for Lincoln. Sandwiched between a home win against Woking and an away win at North Ferriby in the National League was the small matter of an FA Cup fifth round tie at top-flight Burnley.

Only a week before, Southwell had played his first game in five months following a frustrating time at Wycombe, with whom he had turned professional at the start of the season.

“I’d only signed there (Lincoln) on a month’s loan,” says the Halifax striker. “I’d not been there for the last cup game, but got chucked in for the Burnley game.

“We had a plan to get through one 15 minutes, see if we can keep them out, then get through another, then another, and before we knew it, there was five minutes left and it was still 0-0, and we thought ‘we’ve got a chance here’.”

Cue Sean Raggett, who rose above thee Burnley defence, and Southwell, to head home in the 89th minute.

“I had it taken off my head,” says Southwell, “it could have been me scoring the winner!”

Lincoln became the first non-league side in 103 years to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, beating a team 81 places above them in the football pyramid.

“We had a great run, getting to the quarter-finals, and that was an unbelievable game,” recalls Southwell.

“It was a surreal experience, playing in a Premier League stadium, and getting the win.

“It was crazy, probably the craziest moment of my career.

“I think everyone writes you off - a Conference team against a Premier League team, and we ended up scoring really late on.

“But it was a brilliant experience.

“It’d be nice to get another cup run like that! I’d love that.”

Town have to get past Warrington first, who know a bit about cup upsets themselves.

The Yellows belied the 100-place gap between themselves and Exeter to knock the League Two club out of the FA Cup live on television and reach the second round in 2014.

“You can’t take these lower teams for granted,” Southwell warned. “It’s their cup final at the end of the day, and they want to do the best they can.

“You’ve got to be on your best form, and we know what Warrington are about.

“They’re a good side, they’re second in their league, so it’s not going to be an easy game.

“We can’t just go there and think we’re going to roll them over. But hopefully we’ll get the win.”

Halifax go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Chesterfield, a match which Southwell felt The Shaymen should have won.

“I thought we dominated for large parts of the game,” he said. “We were unlucky to concede late on, and all the lads are disappointed.

“We know what they’re about, they’ve got a threat with their long throws and their set-pieces, but apart from that we thought we dominated the game and we deserved to win.

“All the lads said there was foul in there for their goal, so that’s disappointing.

“We nearly won it at the end as well with Kyle’s header.

“We’re playing well, and you can see that we’re looking good. It’s just we don’t seem to be getting the luck at the minute.”

Southwell has primarily featured as a number 10 for Town this season, and has four goals in his 16 appearances.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said of his role in the side, “I get more of the ball in there and I’m able to slide people through.

“I don’t get as many scoring opportunities as I’d like but I’m happy to do that role for the team.

“I’d have liked to have scored more goals, and have made more, but I need to keep working hard and hopefully the goals will come.”