FC Halifax Town v Chorley: Denton back in the final one year on from Ferriby success

Josh Langley of AFC Fylde battles for the ball with Tom Denton of North Ferriby United - North Ferriby United vs AFC Fylde - Vanarama National League North Play-Off Final match at Grange Lane, North Ferriby,
Josh Langley of AFC Fylde battles for the ball with Tom Denton of North Ferriby United - North Ferriby United vs AFC Fylde - Vanarama National League North Play-Off Final match at Grange Lane, North Ferriby,
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Nearly a year ago to the day, Tom Denton was preparing to play in a play-off final at his home ground under manager Billy Heath.

Twelve months on, he, Josh Wilde, Danny Clarke, Liam King and Danny Hone could all face the same scenario again with The Shaymen.

Denton and Wilde are likely to be the only two of the quintet to start on Saturday, but all five will be hoping for the same outcome, with North Ferriby defeating Fylde 2-1 in last year’s final.

“We were 1-0 down against Fylde but we equalised just before half-time, then got the winner in extra-time,” Denton recalled.

“We didn’t really expect to win last year, whereas this time we’ll go into the final as favourites.

“There were only about 1,000 at the final last year so that will be completely different as well.

“I’m really looking forward to it. There’ll be nerves, and I think it’ll be a nervy game. It’ll be edgy, very tight, but may the best team win.

“We’ve beaten them twice and hopefully it’ll be third time lucky. I think they’re similar to us as a team.

“They’re strong all over the park, similar style of play to us. It’ll be a good battle.

“The lads who were at North Ferriby have been here before and done it. Even the lads who were here last season have played in big games in the league above.

“I fancy us.

“They’re nice games to play in but they’re horrible as well. But come five o’clock hopefully we’ve been promoted.

“Obviously it’d be fantastic to get the winner but I’d take anyone getting the winner. I’d take Sam Johnson scoring! As long as we score more than them, it doesn’t matter.”

Denton had mixed feelings about staying in the National League North, admitting he was looking forward to playing at a higher level before Heath came calling, but that as soon as he did, it was a straightforward decision.

“I just want to have a go at that league now,” Denton said. “I’ve played in it five years ago with Alfreton and Woking.

“I wanted a crack at it last year but we came here to do a job and we’re one game away from it.

“It was an easy decision to come to Halifax. As soon as Billy asked me to go, I wanted to. It’s 10 minutes from my house as well, which was a major factor.

“Billy said ‘come and sign for me. we’ll get a good team together and we’ll be bang up there’ and he’s been proved right.

“This is what you play football for, for big games like this. Saturday is bigger than our final last year for me. There was no pressure on us to get promoted last year.

“But ever since Christmas everyone’s been saying ‘we need to get promoted’.

“The crowd were fantastic, they really backed us, so we’ll give it our all and see how we do.”