Town boss says play-off win was fully deserved

Neil Aspin
Neil Aspin

Neil Aspin said his FC Halifax Town side deserved to reach the Blue Square North play-off final after their 2-0 win at Guiseley on Saturday.

Goals from Alex Johnson and Lee Gregory sealed victory for the Shaymen, who went through 3-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at the Shay in the first-leg.

The Town boss said he was confident his team would go on and win after going in goalless at half-time, and praised the tenacity of youngster Johnson.

He said: “I’m delighted for the club and the players. I feel for Guiseley as they’ve had an exceptional season but over the two games, we deserved to win. Full credit to the players because they’ve done the job.

“We were against the wind in the first-half so I felt if we could get to half-time at 0-0, we had the wind at our backs in the second-half and kicking towards our own supporters, I really fancied our chances and the players had a belief they could go on and win the game.

“We’ve done nothing yet but we’ve got to the final and that’s an improvement on last year.

“The first goal was important but you’re hoping you’re going to get a break because we missed a lot of chances on Tuesday, but once we got it, I felt we were going to go on and win the game. The players controlled the occasion well.

“It’s not easy when you’ve got the expectation and a bit of pressure with a good crowd in, but they handled it well.

“It was a massive goal but the Alex deserved it because he’s worked so hard, his work-rate is tremendous.

“He’s come from Clitheroe which is a big step, he hasn’t played all the season but he’s come back with a vengeance at the end of the season.

“It was always in my mind that he was going to play in the play-offs and he hasn’t let us down. That’ll do his confidence the world of good.”

Aspin said Gregory’s strike was the highlight of the day and that the forward’s efforts in the game typified the spirit of his side.

He said: “He had a chance previously which was easier and would’ve put us 2-0 up, but it was a fantastic goal.

“That was the best part of the day and he’s deserved it because he’s battled away, he’s had a good attitude, good commitment and that’s what you need.

“I’m proud of the players, they’ve put in a really good shift over these weeks because it’s not been easy, and the two games this week.

“Considering all the games we’ve had, they’ve looked quite fresh and full of running.

“I don’t think it would’ve been right to do a Di Canio and run down and slide on my knees!

“You don’t want to be jumping around too much because the game’s not won, but you’ve got to celebrate when you get a moment like that, otherwise there’s no point being involved.”

The Town chief says he won’t change his approach for the final on Sunday, and is aware of the threat posed by Brackley.

Aspin added: “I can’t remember the last time we were able to train but we’ve got to prepare properly for the game, look at who we’re playing against.

“But we’ve got to go there and play our own game. We’re not set-up to just sit back and we have to go and try and win the match. It’s a final, it’s a one-off game now.

“Brackley are a strong team, they’ve done really well to beat Altrincham and it’s going to be tough. But we’re capable of getting a result anywhere.”

To see a picture gallery from the game, click on the multimedia link on the right of this page.