FC Halifax Town v Chorley: Garner hoping Heath’s prediction comes true

FC Halifax Town beat Salford City in the semi-finals of the play-offs, at the MBI Shay Stadium. Scott Garner
FC Halifax Town beat Salford City in the semi-finals of the play-offs, at the MBI Shay Stadium. Scott Garner

After Town’s semi-final win over Salford on Sunday, Scott Garner’s mind turned back to a conversation he had with Billy Heath back on New Year’s Day.

Halifax had just drawn 2-2 at home to Darlington and were a week away from the lowest point of their season - a 1-0 defeat at Stalybridge - which extended their run without a win to nine matches.

So no wonder Garner took Heath’s declaration that Halifax would get promoted with a pinch of salt, especially given the defender’s recent record in the play-offs.

“I’ve lost in the semi-finals in the last two years - once on penalties and the other time we were 2-0 up in the first-leg and lost 3-2 - so it;s great to get through this time,” he said.

“I can just imagine the atmosphere on Saturday and how good it’d be if we got promoted. I’m really excited.

“It would mean everything to us. We’ve had to dig in deep throughout the season.

“Just around Christmas time we weren’t in great form but the manager told me ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll get promoted this season’.

“We were in the changing room after the Darlington game. I don’t know how he knows these things but he just knows how things will turn out. We’re not there yet but hopefully he’s right!

“I was sat there thinking ‘I hope so but it’s a big shout’ but he knew it would come good, and that’s why he’s done so well in his career.”

Garner was the last player back in the Town changing room after Sunday’s semi-final victory, a result given even more lustre when put into the context of The Shaymen’s topsy-turvy season.

“When we played Chorley at home, I think that was the turning point,” Garner said.

“That was my first game back after suspension as well and I was determined to turn things around. We all dug in together and put a massive performance in.

“We still weren’t at our best like we have been recently, but we had to get a result and we did that night.

“It was a bad time then, the fans were demanding certain things, but the chairman stayed strong, we all stuck together and we knew it would come good.

“To be out on the pitch on Sunday with all the fans was unbelievable. Something you’ll never forget. I was the last one in the changing rooms by about 10 minutes, and when I got back in everyone was saying ‘where have you been?’ but I was just enjoying it that much.

“Hopefully it will be the same next week.”

Garner insists there will be no complacency from the Town squad going into the final, despite his surprise at their opposition.

“I’m very surprised because Kidderminster got a result at Chorley and I thought Chorley would have to get a result on their ground, with their pitch being not the best,” added the defender.

“I thought Kidderminster, with their attacking flair and threat, would murder them.

“We had a delayed kick off so we knew before the end of our game that the final would be here so it made it even bigger for us to win.

“They’re a big physical team. They’re a good side if they’re up there in the play-off places.

“But we have to fancy ourselves. Playing a team we’ve beaten twice already in the final.

“We can’t take anything lightly. We’ll be going into the game full throttle and trying to roll them over early on.

“We won’t take anything for granted. We’ll be 100 per cent at it.”