Boreham Wood v FC Halifax Town - Shaymen refreshed and ready for promotion tilt

Danny Williams gets round Marvel Ekpiteta when FC Halifax Town last played against Ebbsfleet United.(Picture: Bruce Rollinson)Danny Williams gets round Marvel Ekpiteta when FC Halifax Town last played against Ebbsfleet United.(Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Danny Williams gets round Marvel Ekpiteta when FC Halifax Town last played against Ebbsfleet United.(Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
The game was only confirmed yesterday, but FC Halifax Town assistant manager Chris Millington says the Shaymen will be prepared for tonight’s Conference play-off quarter-final at Boreham Wood, and better for their Covid-19 enforced 124-day break.

Having been sixth when fifth-tier matches came to an abrupt halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Halifax travel to fifth-placed Boreham Wood. The winners are at Harrogate Town on July 25 for the right to play at Wembley in the last game of the English season on August 2. The victors will join the 2020-21 Football League.

It would be the phoenix club’s first time in the Football League. Predecessors Halifax Town AFC were last relegated in 2002.

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The stakes are therefore high and preparation far from ideal for either side, but Millington has no concerns.

“I’m confident that we’re in a position to be able to put in a performance that warrants progressing,” he said.

“I think the lads are in a state where I expect them to perform well, have good moments of possession, be really resilient and dogged out of possession, and be effective when we have the ball.”

It was decided on June 17 the National League seasons would be determined by play-offs but the FA’s National Council only ratified the decision yesterday.

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Conference North York City will also have a play-off semi-final, while bottom-of-the-table Bradford (Park Avenue) will be spared relegation as there is no promotion from the feeder leagues.

Halifax’s last game was a televised 1-0 defeat at home to Ebsfleet United on March 14, and Millington thinks the unwelcome break has refreshed them.

“We had a few lads playing with knocks and niggles,” he said. “I think as a group we were showing signs of mental fatigue and tiredness. It was that stage where it becomes difficult and for a small squad, even more so because there’s much more pressure.

“In a strange kind of way, it probably came at a good time for us, a breather, a bit of time to refresh and regenerate.

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“They’ve come back almost like it’s the beginning of a new season.

“The time we had during lockdown was really useful for me and Pete (Wild, the manager), to spend some time reflecting on how the season had gone so far.”

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