Town boss Jamie Fullarton said his side “thoroughly deserved” their draw at League Two Morecambe in the first round of the FA Cup.
The Shaymen produced a battling performance that saw them match their higher-league opponents for most of the game, and take the tie to a replay at The Shay on Tuesday, November 20.
“I think first and foremost, when you’re coming to play against a team that’s in the league above you, at full strength, having had a great result against Yeovil on Saturday, the challenge is for us to play well,” said Fullarton.
“And we had to play well to get anything from the game, and I felt that, although being super-critical there’s areas where I want us to do better and show a bit more composure in the final third, to a man the application and attitude was first-class.
“We thoroughly deserved something from it. If you do that every game, every week then you’ll get a consistent of winning more games than you lose, or not losing games.
“So that’s pleasing. We’re in the hat for the next round draw on Monday. But let’s not carried away with any sort of euphoria.
“It gives us another chance, another game against a team that’s in the league above us, that definitely will feel the same way I’m feeling.
“No doubt if you speak to Jim (Bentley, Morecambe manager), he’ll say they could have won.
“But we’re pleased to get back to our home ground and have that chance to progress, which will be as difficult as it was today.”
Fullarton felt his side improved going forward as the game went on.
“From a defensive point of view, we put our bodies on the line, and defended for our lives, which you have to do,” he said.
“And then as the game went on, and we stayed in the game, we had quite a few passages of play and opportunities.
“In the first-half, while we lacked real composure and a little bit of quality in that final third having got into good areas, I thought as the game went on, we got better at that, which created goalscoring opportunities as opposed to nearly goalscoring opportunities.
“So that was pleasing, and it’s something that we’ll have to do in the replay.”
Fullarton thought his side competed well on the day.
He said: “What happens in cup competitions like the FA Cup when you’re the team in the lower league, there’s three outcomes; one, playing against a team above you, you’ve lost the game and you’re not quite good enough and they’ve shown why they’re a league above you; secondly, good old valiant Halifax, ‘gave a good account of themselves’, you lose it but you do quite well; or you pit yourself a team a division above you and players have their own personal pride individually and collectively to say ‘yeah, we’re going to give it our best shot and show we’re capable of competing’.
“Although we didn’t win the game, I think the third outcome was definitely what came from the game for me.”
Fullarton felt Town bridged the gap between the National League and League Two against a good Morecambe team.
“It’s a cup game, and as we experienced with Warrington, when you’re the team in the higher division, you’re in a no-win situation,” he said.
“They had chances in the game, they have some good quality players that are established league players, and at times, they showed that, which called upon our defenders to put their bodies on the line and defend for their lives.
“I think it was an exciting, entertaining nil-nil draw.”
The Town boss was pleased his side maintained their levels of work-rate throughout the match.
“Every team has a spell where they have control of the game, whether it’s blind pressure or possession of the ball,” he said.
“But if you can maintain you focus while you’re tired and override that feeling of fatigue and tiredness, which I don’t have any doubt with the group because of what we do and how we condition ourselves physically and mentally, and the fact it is the FA Cup, and the fact it is away from home against a team in the division above us, I think added to that.
“But the players set the standard of what we expect, and I think the 531 travelling fans, with their support, which was magnificent, it was reminiscent of the Wrexham game away where they were constantly singing throughout the game, and at those times when you are under a little bit of pressure, it gave the players that bit of a boost that meant we came through the other side.
“In the last 15, 20 minutes we created some really good goalscoring opportunities as opposed to getting in good areas like we were in the first-half.”
Fullarton was also happy his team heeded his pre-match call to cut out the individual errors.
“You’ve got to be task-focused, because when you play against a team from a higher division, they have the ability to create chances on their own without you gifting them,” he said.
“I did call upon the players to make sure we eradicated individual errors and we didn’t give anything away cheaply, and I think, to a man, every one of them stood up and showed that today.
“But, without putting a dampener on it, what it’s done, the great effort put in by all, is given us another opportunity, so we’ve got another 95 minutes where we have to start and maintain what we did today, and then add just that little bit of quality and composure in the final third to push and try to get into that next round.”
Fullarton again named only four substitutes, with midfielder Simon Lenighan not involved after picking up an injury in the West Riding County Cup game at Goole in midweek.
“He was injured on Tuesday in the County Cup, but without banging the drum, that’s where we’re at,” he added.
“But my focus is on the lads that took part, and the squad that were involved today, because they’re the ones that impacted and affected the game.
“We did have four subs, and we’re at where we’re at with that.
“There’s many reasons that impact why we have four subs, but let’s not detract from the performance of all those 11 that started as well as the four on the bench, because football’s about that squad, that group, and they deserve great credit for today.”