Salford City round off January with a trip to the MBi Shay Stadium, home of FC Halifax Town.
It’s the shortest away trip of the season for The Ammies at around 30 miles across the M62 to Yorkshire, and Graham Alexander’s side will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to 2019.
The Shay hasn’t traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Salford though with no wins in four visits, and in the three league meetings no less than four goals conceded. It was also the venue of our play-off semi-final defeat in 2016-17, lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time.
However there was a change in the wind in this fixture back in August; The Shaymen hadn’t conceded or dropped points in three when we met at The Peninsula Stadium, but a brace from Adam Rooney gave us a first win of the season and a first ever win against Halifax.
It wasn’t too far off this stage of the season when Jamie Fullarton took over at The Shay last year after Billy Heath left the club four points above the relegation zone, and four wins and five draws in the final 12 games was enough for the former Notts County boss to keep Halifax up.
Currently they are in a similar sort of position, five points above the drop zone, but they are maintaining a level of consistency that they hope will see them through. What will be a concern is goals, and 26 from 29 games is amongst the lowest in the division; only Aldershot (24) have scored less.
Halifax did manage a run in the Emirates FA Cup after beating League Two Morecambe in the First Round, via a replay, but were defeated 3-1 by League One AFC Wimbledon in the Second Round. The FA Trophy ended in a narrow defeat in a replay away at Solihull Moors, a game that Fullarton felt his side deserved more from.
The Solihull defeat was The Shaymen’s first defeat in five, and only defeat since Boxing Day, but in eight games they have won two and drawn five. In the league they have drawn four in a row, including back-to-back 0-0s, with the last league win coming on Boxing Day and a 2-1 win away at Harrogate Town.
Their last win on home turf was back in November and that replay win against Morecambe, however only Wrexham and Solihull (8) have conceded less goals at home than Halifax (9) in the league. Three of those have been in the last four.
One to Watch – Matty Kosylo
An exciting winger who has caused Salford problems in previous meetings, Kosylo is in his third season at The Shay after signing from Nantwich Town in 2016. Once a Salford loanee from Stockport County, back in 2011 when he made one appearance off the bench, scored, and went off injured, he has since forged his career at Ashton, Hyde and Nantwich where he won the NPL Young Player of the Year.
The 26-year-old scored in the reverse fixture, and has another two goals against Salford for Halifax – both of which came at The Shay in 2016-17.
The Reverse Fixture
Our first ever win over Halifax was sealed by Rooney in August. Prior to 2016-17 this was a fixture that the reformed Halifax dominated with four wins from four, but more recently we have won one, drawn two and lost two (including one on penalties).