"I thought we were much the better side in the second-half" - Cooper says Halifax were worthy winners after 1-0 victory at home to Wealdstone

Town's assistant manager Andy Cooper felt The Shaymen were "worthy winners" in their 1-0 victory at home to Wealdstone.
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Milli Alli's second-half goal was decisive in a closely-contested game and pushes Halifax back into the play-off places.

"Really pleased to get the win, massively pleased with the clean sheet. Much needed and something that we pride ourselves on," Cooper told the Courier.

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"Obviously that's three wins at home in the league, which is the consistency we want.

Andy CooperAndy Cooper
Andy Cooper

"We knew the test we were facing, we've got a massive amount of respect for how Wealdstone are coached and set-up, they love having the ball, they use a lot of their energies in the first third of the pitch moving the ball around well to try and unbalance you and create opportunities to open you up.

"So we knew it was a patience game for us, to force them into areas where we could win the ball back and then counteract them and get at them.

"I thought there were spells where we did that really well but I thought we also lacked a little bit of the final pass or the final quality.

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"It opened up a bit too much and went end-to-end a bit more than we wanted first-half in terms of controlling possession of the ball when we got it back, we wanted to be better.

"We tweaked a couple of things at half-time in terms of how we were going to set-up to press them and barring a save from Sam and a late onslaught I thought we were much the better side in the second-half.

"Disappointed not to have converted more chances or not be able to get an outcome out of some of the attacks we had, but obviously a well-taken goal.

"With a margin of only 1-0 in this league, you know what's coming, you don't get that second goal or kill a team off you know they're going throw extra bodies on.

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"We had to defend our box as a team which we did really well.

"Shame we couldn't get a more convincing scoreline but ultimately, we knew it was going to be a graft and hard work and to come through it with a goal, a clean sheet and three points at home is pleasing."

The Shaymen got better as the game went on, building on a mixed first-half by becoming the superior side in the second-half.

"We knew how we wanted to set-up and play and when it wasn't quite working, we were maybe guilty of just forcing things a bit too much in the first-half," Cooper said.

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"We needed to up the tempo, we needed to up the speed to our play when we had the ball and get at them more, be quicker and be a bit more relentless in our attacking play.

"Once we started to do that I felt we were dominant and we were worthy winners and well on top.

"You've always got to make sure you keep the back door closed, that's not just Sam and the back three but the rest of the team as well and I thought everyone has put an absolute shift in to not just see us over the line but try and show a bit more of who we are and get on the ball a bit more.

"Throughout the game there was some really strong passages of play with some neat football in there that hasn't always been the hallmark of us this season.

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"Ultimately we want to finish more chances from the ones we have and that's the bit we need to keep working on."

The win saw Halifax bounce straight back from last weekend's defeat at Maidenhead and make it three home league wins on the bounce.

"We've had a really strong week of prep, the lads have been right at it making sure we were fully prepared to deal with a completely different test to Maidenhead away, to know what we wanted to do at home, to know what was expected of us," Cooper said.

"We gave the opposition the respect but it's about us and this week was about us, planning for how we're going to get a game-plan that's going to take the three points so to execute that is great.

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"There's stuff that we want to do better but I felt we were consistent throughout and were able to finish the game strongly."

Wealdstone boss Stuart Maynard was booked for his protests that his team should have had a penalty for Jordan Keane's challenge that ultimately led to the winner.

"We felt we had a penalty in the first-half in exactly the same spot, that felt more of a penalty," said Cooper.

"When I saw Keano's it just looked like a really good, professional challenge. He came out with the ball and set us up.

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"I'm pleased for Milli because his finishing is something he's done extras on, so pleasing for him to get the strike across goal."

Striker Rob Harker made his comeback from injury off the bench in the second-half.

"Rob's worked well in the gym and done what he needed to do to get back a little bit ahead of schedule, he's been well looked after and been chomping at the bit to come back and get some minutes," Cooper said.

"As soon as he came on he created a chance straight away.

"It's good to see him and Aaron play together - one can stretch and threat and the other can hold it up and bring others into play.

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"It was a good moment to bring him on because we felt there were opportunities opening up to finish them off with a second.

"Aaron does an incredible amount of work for us with his movement and his runs that doesn't always get seen or picked out.

"His team-mates are backing him and we are as well, he's got good people behind him keep providing the service and I've no doubts he'll come up with the goods."