ANY Town fan travelling to tomorrow’s league clash at FC Halifax will be praying for a better showing than their last at The Shay (3pm).
Simon Weaver’s side were thumped 4-0 by Neil Aspin’s men in the FA Cup last season, after Town went down to nine men in the first half.
Halifax are of course, one of the favourites to win promotion from the Conference North this campaign.
The two sides played out a drab 0-0 draw at Wetherby Road earlier in the season and Weaver is looking for a better display.
“It’s a place I enjoy going to,” said Weaver.
“There’s always a big crowd there and a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve just got to keep the run going in the league, if we battle like we did on Saturday, then who knows.”
Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Stalybridge, a highly charged affair (see page 53 for more), stretched Town’s unbeaten run in the league to three games. Paul Brayson’s injury time goal grabbed Town a share of the spoils.
Wednesday’s woeful County Cup blip at home to Bradford Park Avenue, however, acts as a reminder to Town, they are far from invincible.
Weaver’s men crashed out of the competition at the semi-final stage after being outplayed by Park Avenue, who deserved their 3-1 extra-time victory. Chib Chilaka did score his first Town goal since returning from Braintree. But there were many headaches for Weaver in a poor display by his team.
With the game heading towards extra-time, Weaver decided to bring off Chilaka and Lee Elam, Town’s main attacking threat on the night, a decision the manager defended after the final whistle.
“Of course we wanted to win, we want to win every game,” said Weaver.
“But it was the West Riding County Cup, it wasn’t the FA Cup final for us. The most important thing for us is the league, we’d much rather get three points on Saturday.”
A Jordan Deacey free kick plus two extra time goals for Tom Greaves put Park Avenue into the final against Guiseley at Valley Parade.
Focus now turns to Town’s tough end of season run in.
Next Tuesday they welcome Corby Town (7.45pm ko) and will follow it with a home fixture against Vauxhall Motors and Eastwood Town, two teams currently sitting in the relegation places.
Eight points are a must for Town in their bid to confirm Blue Square North safety for another season.
Looking at the Conference and the Evo-Stik Premier Division, there are many reasons why Town will want to stay up.
Darlington are in freefall after their documented financial troubles, just above the Blue Square Premier relegation places.
In the Evo-Stik, Chester City look likely to win promotion, sitting pretty with just two months to go.
“We need to make sure we’re 15 points above the safety zone soon,” said Weaver.
“Then we can start looking at finishing mid-table.
“If we do it will be a successful season, given everything that has gone on with injuries.”
lSEE harrogateadvertiser.co.uk for a full match report from Wednesday’s cup semi-final.