FC Halifax Town dreaming of adding to FA Cup heroics

FC HALIFAX TOWN FA Cup hero Matt Kosylo could be forgiven for dreaming a little bit.

Daggers Joe Widdowson, left, is left trailing in the wake of Halifax Town hero Matt Kosylo at The Shay. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

A tutor by trade, the substitute provided a history lesson in securing an FA Cup second-round berth for the first time since they reformed in 2008 on Tuesday night against Dagenham and Redbridge in a 2-1 replay win.

The winger was the toast of the MBI Shay Stadium after producing a magic late winner, courtesy of rasping low drive in the 90th minute to knock out the Daggers.

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It earned a round two trip to another National League side in Eastleigh – managed by former Rotherham chief Ronnie Moore – on December 4, leaving Halifax just one win away from a potential crack at the big guns.

Even though that is still some way off, the 24-year-old certainly knows how he would love to face if that delicious chance arose.

Kosylo, whose former clubs include Nantwich Town, Vauxhall Motors, Ashton United and Hyde – after starting his career at Stockport County – said: “I have got a Manchester City season ticket and you never know...

“It would be weird if we got to the third round and got them away. It would be a bit surreal.

“That goal was the highest point of my career, to date.

“Having played at lower levels and been close to getting to the first round and things like that, to score in the last minute against a team in the division above and take us through to the next round is great.

“Previously, I have played for Vauxhall Motors and we got to the fourth qualifying round against Macclesfield away and we got absolutely trounced 7-0.

“So you can understand my good feelings in getting through to the second round.

“As soon as that (Eastleigh) game comes along, we will be thinking solely about it and the gaffer will have us focused on what we need to do in terms of the first 45 minutes, never mind the full 90. We will have our instructions and know what we need to do.”

Few would begrudge the Shaymen their rewards on a night when Billy Heath’s side provided the icing to a sweet opening third of the season with them having tasted defeat just once in their last 11 matches.

They did things the hard way after missing a penalty for the second successive home game when Jordan Sinnott saw his spot-kick saved.

Thankfully for them, Kosylo saved the day with a last-gasp winner against the 10-man Daggers, who had cancelled out Tom Denton’s first-half opener with a goal from Corey Whitely.

Heath, who until this season had not taken a side into the first round in his long managerial career, said: “It was typical from us. We do not make things easy for ourselves.

“I thought we were outstanding for the first half an hour and played some really good stuff and had them under pressure.

“In the end, the emotion was just relief with everyone on the bench and Mark Carroll (assistant) jumping up. If we had not completed the job, I think it would have been a golden opportunity spurned, I really do as we had the chances in the first half.”

Next up are Moore’s Eastleigh and while not representing marquee league opposition, Heath says he and his National Leaguue North outfit will embrace the fixture.

The former North Ferriby manager added: “I seem to make little bits of history for football clubs and it is unbelievable and great.

“It is another first for everybody at the club, the players and everyone. I am really pleased for everyone, the chairman and everyone involved.

“There is no point pretending, the financial side is huge and it is a good opportunity. But there (also) is the romance of the FA Cup for the players and all our staff.

“It is a massive competition when you are in the non-league. The romance of the cup may have gone out for the Premier League clubs, but not at the level we play at, definitely not.

“Eastleigh will be tough and they had a wonderful result (against Swindon). But one thing we will do is play exactly the same. We won’t sit behind the ball and contain.

“We played some really good stuff against Dagenham in the opening half-hour and dominated. We will be the underdogs at Eastleigh and play the same way. I said to the boys when we went to Dagenham: ‘Just go and have a go and do exactly as we are week in, week out in Conference North.’

Moore said after master-minding a 3-1 shock win against Swindon: “We played them off the park. It was unbelievable when you consider they are a League One club.

“They beat Charlton on Saturday but for us to come and perform the way we did defies belief. We believed in ourselves but this was a fantastic night.

“To beat a League One team when you are non-league is fantastic for me and the team. It is fully deserved. We are in the second round now, though I know it isn’t quite Wembley.”