Millington delighted after Shaymen seal their place in FA Trophy quarter-finals

Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus BranstonChris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Town boss Chris Millington said he was "delighted" after The Shaymen sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy thanks to a penalty shoot-out win at Maidenhead.

After a 0-0 draw, Jordan Slew scored the winning spot-kick to send Halifax through to the last eight 5-4 on penalties.

"I'm delighted," said Millington, "it's something that's really exciting for the players, for the fans, for all of us.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Progressing to the last eight of any competition is good but for teams in the National League to progress into the latter stages of the FA Trophy is really exciting."

The Town boss felt his side grew into the game after a slow beginning at York Road.

"I thought we started really slow, after some recent performances where we've started really high energy - Oldham we were all over them for the first 15 minutes, didn't give them a moment's rest, Barnet, we started very bright and scored an early goal," he said.

"But today we struggled to get going and by half-time there were still a good number of the lads who hadn't got themselves going.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"And in these games, on a dry pitch, where the ball spends a lot of time in the air, the one thing you have to do is get yourself going early and be competing from the first minute and we didn't today.

"But I think we grew into the game and, as it went on, started to get control of the midfield midway through the second-half and I thought we finished the game quite strongly.

"But we allowed too many counter-attacks, which I wasn't pleased with, but we certainly looked more like the teams we're trying to be in the last quarter of the game."

Town's effort and commitment couldn't be faulted in the game but there was little quality on show between two teams struggling for form.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Maidenhead made a few changes but they had players like Barrett coming in, Clerima who hasn't played a huge amount, Massey coming back in, so there's players there who are very good National League players.," Millington said.

"They've got a good, energetic, National League style about them, it's direct and at times they can mix it.

"But that's something we can certainly be better at and we have to match teams for a period of time until we get the opportunity to get hold of possession and start to settle into our own game.

"This is another opportunity for the lads to learn how to cope with that direct physicality early on and hopefully build into controlling possession later in games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We had moments on the ball where we controlled it, we worked the ball and we got Milli Alli and Max Wright facing forward with it.

"But we didn't do that enough and the spells we had didn't last long enough.

"But defensively we were committed, strong, we went into tackles with a level of commitment we're going to have to have to keep building some momentum into the latter stages of the season."

Tom Clarke was one of Town's best performers in what was his first start for three months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He was great," Millington said. "The one thing people don't see is what he's like around the group, day to day, which is just what people would expect him to be, which is the player of his calibre and the person of his calibre you'd expect.

"He looked very self-assured, very solid and we know we're not going to be able to wheel him out game after game for 90 minutes Saturday, Tuesday.

"But we know when we call upon him he's going to be ready and he's going to give us a performance like he did today."

Festus Arthur was suspended having been booked twice in the competition, while Jesse Debrah was dropped to the bench.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"A number of reasons we've discussed privately," said Millington on Debrah not starting the game, "but people will be aware of a tightness in his calves in recent games so that was also an influencing factor in giving him an opportunity to ease off a little bit.

"He's somebody we value and we care about and we want to make sure that he's at his best as often as possible."