Maidstone 0-1 FC Halifax Town: “It was a tense game, but we coped very well,” says Fullarton

Jamie Fullarton
Jamie Fullarton

Town boss Jamie Fullarton said his players coped well with the tension in his side’s much-needed 1-0 win at Maidstone.

Scott Quigley’s 87th minute goal - his first for the club - sealed Halifax’s first win of 2019 and lifted them up to 15th in the National League, five points above the relegation zone.

“Thoroughly deserved,” was Fullarton’s verdict. “There was tension in the game, and I think you’ve seen Maidstone were desperate not to lose in the way John (Still) set out his team, how hard they work, how much they press, how direct they are.

“You’ve got to match that, and it got a bit bitty and disrupted at times, with free-kicks, and it’s making sure you’re not exposed to that physicality in their play.

“Then when you get the opportunity as the game opened up, to create chances, it’s important you take one.

“We had to be patient, we waited until the 87th minute, we had three or four clear-cut, from eight to 10 yards, one-on-ones before that.

“Scoring goals is something we know we need to improve on, and fortunately the goal came tonight.

“If we’d have won by a greater margin I think it would’ve reflected the professional away performance we put out.”

After a dour first-half, the game gradually came to life after the interval, with Halifax ending the match strongly, and capping their best spell of the contest with the winner.

When asked if he felt Town got better as the game went on, Fullarton said: “Yeah, because the game opened up. When you play away from home, you’ve got stay in the game, match what the opposition are.

“Not losing the game was very important for them. They changed their shape from what they’d been playing, which I think reflects the importance and what they thought of us, having gone from a three (at the back) to a four, and playing a centre-back as a holding midfielder.

“But as the game progressed into the later stages, it opened up, and that’s when we came into our own in terms of being able to create chances and counter, and break quickly.

“I thought we created some really good, clear-cut chances, which we should have done better with.”

Second-from-bottom Maidstone are 10 points adrift of safety having still won only once at home in the league this season, with both teams’ poor recent form placing a lot of importance on the three points.

“It bodes well going into Saturday with another clean sheet, having won away from home in what was always going to be a very difficult game,” Fullarton said.

“Their (Maidstone’s) previous two games at home were against Fylde and Salford and neither won.

“John Still’s a wise old fox and he’s come in to get them structured and organised.

“It was a tense game, but our players coped very well with that tension, and you don’t do that if you are not confident in what you are doing, and all together and buying in to what we are trying to do.

“We’re just looking for those results to reflect that more, and turn those draws into wins.”

On the continued absence of right-back Jacob Hanson from the matchday squad - amid rumours of a physical altercation with team-mate Ryan Sellers - Fullarton said: “It’s (down to) team selection. It’s no different from any other player when there’s competition for places.

“It’s is a great position to be in to have such competition for the right back position, something we are striving to have for every position on the pitch.

“Michael Duckworth’s performances have been outstanding, and that’s not too strong a word, which I firmly believe have been enhanced by the strong competition he has for the right back position.

“That suggestion (regarding Hanson) is ridiculous. Anybody who knows Jacob, or Ryan, they would have a chuckle about that, because Jacob as a person, from my experience with the lad, would never do such a thing.

“It’s ridiculous to suggest such a thing, and that anything like that would happen within the group of players we have.

“Anyone who believes that would happen with how the players get on and under my watch, then they don’t really know the players and definitely don’t know how we work as a group, staff and players together.

“That is definitely not the environment in which that would happen, or the culture we have at the club.”

And on midfielder Cameron King’s absence, Fullarton said: “He’s not been in at all. He’s had a sickness bug that’s knocked him for six.

“When you have that, you can’t take chances, not only for that player, but spreading it throughout the squad.

“We’ll see how he is later in the week.”