"We've executed a game-plan brilliantly well" - Cooper delighted after Shaymen beat Chesterfield in six-goal thriller

Assistant manager Andy Cooper said The Shaymen executed their game-plan brilliantly after they beat champions-to-be Chesterfield 4-2.
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Town moved back into the top seven thanks to a magnificent performance as they recovered from Will Grigg's opener to win their seventh game in eight through goals from Rob Harker, Aaron Cosgrave and Andrew Oluwabori.

"Thrilling game, I thought it had a bit of everything, entertaining. It takes two really good teams to make a game like that, great atmosphere, played in a great way," Cooper said.

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"Just delighted to get the three points, it means a lot. We've had to dig deep for it, we've worked hard, but we've created a number of really good chances.

Andy CooperAndy Cooper
Andy Cooper

"We've taken our goals well but we've created more, which is really pleasing, and we've executed a game-plan brilliantly well.

"It had last-ditch blocks, it had great saves, we had chance upon chance, they had a spell of pressure second-half which we knew they would, they're champions-elect for a reason and they came on strong, put more bodies up top to make it difficult for us.

"But we've been impressive today, it's been a really strong performance.

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"I don't think for any moment we've hung on or we've sat back, we've had a real good go, toe-to-toe and that started from the first minute, creating chances, on the front-foot.

"As delighted as we are at beating the champions-elect, I think in our own humble way we'll take the three points and move on because the games are going to come thick and fast now and we can't afford to get too high after a performance like that.

"But it shows the levels that the players are capable of."

When asked what the game-plan had been, Cooper said: "To be front-foot, to be in their faces when we didn't have the ball, to force them into wide areas and stop them coming back inside and trying to link-up with the quality they've got.

"And then as soon as we had the ball, try and break with power and pace, break off the shoulder of their high line and exploit them in-behind as quickly as we could, and I thought we did that outstandingly, we were relebtless in that throughout the game, regardless of who was up top, out wide or in the ten, we really committed to exactly what we needed to do.

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"We knew set plays are really strong for them, they've scored an unbelievable amount of goals from set plays.

"But the main part is work rate, organisation, energy and being really resilient at the end.

"We were really good value for the win and the performance to match.

"It's the stage of the season where you're looking for results over performance but it was a great marker for the lads to know what they're capable of and where they're at.

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"It sets a really good standard for us. We know not every game's going to be played in that way, every opposition's different, but the lads have shown they can go toe-to-toe with a strong outfit and come up with the goods."

It was a performance to be proud of from Halifax, who arguably produced their best display since Chris Millington took charge.

"The energy, hard-work and resilience we showed is what makes you proud of them, committing to what we know we can do and how we can hurt teams, and getting the buy-in from everyone, the whole squad," said Cooper.

"When you get that bond and togetherness it can be strong, it can be powerful and I think we showed that in abundance and you saw the last-ditch challenges, the blocks, putting bodies on the line - that's everything we want from a Halifax Town player and we got that."

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The performance was even more impressive considering the state of The Shay pitch.

"Same for both sides, it's heavy, there's issues with the ball stopping which have led to goals or shots that stopped just before the goal-line," Cooper said.

"So it does play a part but I thought for the pitch to be so heavy and cut up the way it did, there was still some really good football and passages of play by both sides.

"Chesterfield do cut teams open really well and have a lot of quality, but I felt we were strong and we were good with the ball today.

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"When we needed to, we held onto it for periods, but we also broke quickly at their back line, got in-behind and stretched them.

"It is tough, it's sapping on the energy levels, which you could tell towards the end, things are getting stretched, we're getting a bit deeper, but we were able to finish strong."

Town scored some delightful goals, especially their second, which featured a terrific through ball by Flo Hoti - who Cooper said came off after experiencing a bit of blurred vision - and an excellent finish by Harker.

"From back to front, Jack Hunter regains it, plays a really good line-breaking pass to Flo, whose able to travel and then slide that ball in to Rob, who is a threat off the shoulder and was cool, calm and clinical, so it was a brilliant, well-worked goal, right from regaining the ball, not just the finish," Cooper said.

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It was the first time Town had scored more than two goals in a home game this season.

"We know we're not a free-scoring team but we've showed today that we've got that in the locker," Cooper said, "and we're really pleased for the lads who were able to contribute at the op of the pitch to score, but there was some great creative play there as well and also some unbelievable resolute defending as well."

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