Warrington 2-2 FC Halifax Town: Our performance has to be better if we want to progress, says Fullarton

Football - FC Halifax Town v Fylde. Jamie Fullarton
Football - FC Halifax Town v Fylde. Jamie Fullarton

Town boss Jamie Fullarton said his players have to perform better if they want to progress in the FA Cup after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Warrington.

Matty Kosylo’s equaliser kept The Shaymen in the competition after goals from Ben Garrity and Tony Gray had put Warrington in-front.

Nathan Clarke had given Halifan an early lead in the fourth qualifying round clash, but Town were second best for most of the contest against their Northern Premier League hosts.

“Warrington deserved something from the game, without a doubt,” said Fullarton.

“Cup competitions are about winning games and being in the hat, and we’re in the hat, whether it’s by default or design.

“But it’s important that, come Tuesday, if they (Halifax players) weren’t sure what to expect from what they’ve worked on all week, then they’ve seen it for themselves.

“They (Warrington) were no different that what I expected. Paul Carden’s done fantastic this season so far. They just missed out on promotion last year,they’ve invested wisely and have players that have played at a higher level than the National League.

“It was a difficult game but it was no more difficult than we expected and we prepared the players for, but maybe now they’ve seen it and experienced it themselves, they’ll believe it a bit more.

“The most pleasing factor is we’re still in the hat.”

When asked if there was any complacency from his side, Fullarton said: “Goals change games and I’m not sure if, with us scoring so early on, that it provoked a reaction and a thought-process that meant they thought it wasn’t going to be what I told them all week it was going to be.

“You never know, it’s human nature, and you’ve got 11 individuals, but there’s many aspects that we didn’t do well enough.

“The fortunate aspect is we’re still in the cup and we’ve got a chance on Tuesday, at home, on our own pitch, where we’ve enjoyed playing so far this season, to progress into the next round of the cup.”

When asked why Town had under-performed on the day, Fullarton said: “The preparation has been the same, the week’s structure’s been the same and we have consistency and continuity in how we approach every game.

“That’s a crystal ball question that you can’t answer. I can see on certain aspects what we didn’t do well, but to say why?

“You’ve got to give credit to the opposition also, for how they played on their own pitch.

“I think it’s clear why they’re doing so well this season with what Paul’s done with them.

“But I expected that from Warrington. It’s a cup tie.

“Whatever way you want to look at it, when you’re a team in a higher division, you’re seen as a scalp.

“Their approach and the way they went about it, you’ve got to give them credit for that, and not take anything away from them, because sometimes you can get swamped or caught up in what you didn’t do well.

“But they did things that showed why they’re up at the top of their league and pushing for promotion.”

Fullarton did give his players credit for getting back into the game after falling 2-1 down.

He said: “In a first-half where we go in the lead and we’re brought back to 1-1 and probably fortunate to stay 1-1, to then concede within three minutes of the restart, having identified certain aspects that we must do better and not doing it, to go 2-1 down away from home against a team that’s got momentum in their own league and playing with a confidence, to then get ourselves back in the game and pull it back to 2-2, that’s the credit the players come out with.

“It’s an ingredient that’s going to be required for Tuesday, but not for the last 30 minutes, and I’m not advocating we get ourselves in that position, because I don’t want to see that characteristic to be shown too often.

“But it should be used and moulded towards us starting the game like that, which we probably did, hence why we went 1-0 up.

“But it’s maintaining it for the 95 minutes and if the players weren’t sure - which is virtually impossible from what we’ve worked on this week in what we identified and explained about the opposition in our preparation, what they were and how the game would be - then they’ve experienced it, so they’re fully prepared mentally in understanding what we can expect come Tuesday night.”

Would Fullarton make changes to his side for the replay on Tuesday?

“You’re asking questions straight after a game where I haven’t watched it again, and they become emotional decisions rather than analytical decisions,” he said.

“I’ll watch the game again. What they were, how they played and what they did was no surprise.

“It was explained and we worked on what they were, but at certain times, we didn’t deal with it well and we made some poor decisions, more often that not in possession than when we regained.

“So they’re not things that are based on the opposition, that’s based on what we are and what we should be doing as opposed to what they are.

“I wasn’t surprised at how they played and how well they did, but when they do perform to that level and we don’t, then the romance of the cup kicks in and people see that scalp, but that’s what makes it interesting for people.

“We’re in the hat, and more importantly, we’ve got another opportunity on Tuesday, and that’s the thing with football when you’ve got the games thick and fast, it gives you another chance quickly to rectify the performance.

“Whilst taking the positives from it, that we’re still in the cup, and the fact we did manage to stay in the game, and get ourselves back into the game, under difficult circumstances away from home, and for us to do that, that’s a positive, but not for 30 minutes. We’re looking at 95 minutes of that level.”

Fullarton admitted Town hadn’t matched the standards they’ve set earlier in the season.

“On multiple occasions, they’ve demonstrated the characteristics of what they are,” he said.

“The characteristic that came out today was the fact we managed to stay in the game and get ourselves back in the game and keep ourselves in the competition, which is a good characteristic to have.

“But I don’t want to be calling upon that too often. I think the players understand and appreciate that, come Tuesday, our performance has to be better if we want to progress in the cup.”

Fullarton confirmed midfielder James Berrett was out with a haematoma on his thigh.

The Town boss said he won’t have any injured players back for the replay, and confirmed Kyle Wootton hadn’t been given permission to play by parent club Scunthorpe.

On the fact Town only had five players on the bench compared to Warrington’s seven, Fullarton added: “That’s where we’re at. So come Tuesday, the players that were involved today will have another opportunity to right the performance.

“It’s about remaining balanced. We’ll take the positives and use them for Tuesday, while appreciating where we have to do better to make sure that we do come Tuesday.”