Getting to know the opposition: FC Halifax Town (a)

On the last day of the regular season, Chesterfield sealed the final spot in this season’s Vanarama National League play-off places, earning a trip to West Yorkshire, where they will be welcomed to The Shay Stadium by FC Halifax Town.

In a nail-biting goalless draw with Woking, the Spireites held on for dear life as a single point separated themselves and Dagenham & Redbridge, who narrowly missed out on a chance to feature in the play-offs. The Daggers pushed Chesterfield to the very last seconds of the regular season by recording an extraordinary 3-0 win over second-placed Wrexham, who themselves will later feature in the play-offs as they await the winners of the eliminator between Notts County and Grimsby Town in the next round. 

Ten days on from the tense final matchday against Woking, preparation has now turned to the clash with Halifax as Solihull Moors await the winners in the competition’s semi-final.  

Final League Standings

ClubLeague PositionWinsDrawsLossesGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
FC Halifax Town4th25910623584
Chesterfield FC7th20136695174

Ahead of the biggest game this season for both clubs, Halifax go into the encounter with the regular season advantage, knowing that they bettered Chesterfield by ten points in the league standings. Three places above the Spireites, Halifax managed to achieve this feat by conceding 16 goals fewer, albeit failing to out-score their play-off rivals.  

Whilst the Shaymen have been resilient in defence, their goalscoring display will cause concerns heading into the post-season. Recording the worst record of all the teams in the play-offs for goals scored this season, only three of their players managed to score more than ten goals. Billy Waters is the key dangerman for the West Yorkshire side, having netted 19 goals in 46 appearances. Following on from Waters, former Northampton striker Matt Warburton contributed with 14 goals this season and Jordan Slew provided 11 goals. If Halifax are to get the better of the Spireites, they may need to rely on these three as the next highest goalscorer is Kian Spence, who was only able to net on five occasions. 

Halifax’s struggles in front of goal could play a decisive factor in the upcoming clash with Chesterfield as the same can be said for form. The Shaymen won only two games from their final five matches. During this time, the side lost to mid-table Southend United, and league winners Stockport County on the final day of the season. Victories in this period came in 1-0 and 2-1 wins over Yeovil Town and Eastleigh FC respective;y, whereas home fans also witnessed a 1-1 stalemate against relegation-threatened Aldershot Town, during the penultimate game of the season. 

Head-to-head Record

Home SideRecord
Away Side
FC Halifax Town 2-0
(18th April 2022)
Chesterfield FC 
Chesterfield FC1-1
(28th December 2021)
FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town1-2
(29th May 2021)
Chesterfield FC
Chesterfield FC1-2
(20th April 2021)
FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town1-0
(28th December 2019)
Chesterfield FC

In the last five encounters between these two, the Shaymen have come away with two wins. One of those coming in the most recent matchup, back in April of this year, where the West Yorkshire side collected a 2-0 victory in front their home fans. A tight and undeniably nerve-wracking fixture as the two sides remained deadlocked with 15 minutes left on the clock. As time ran out, Halifax struck for gold as Slew opened the scoring before Warburton doubled the side’s lead only three minutes after going in front.

The win proved to be pivotal as the club earned a fourth-placed finish this season, ultimately finishing two points above Notts County in fifth. 

Last season, the honours were left even as both sides picked up away wins by a 2-1 scoreline. At the Technique Stadium, Kairo Mitchell scored the only goal for the Spireites as Jeff King and Jake Hyde netted to help Halifax beat Chesterfield. A month later, in May 2021, Chesterfield would get their revenge as Liam Mandeville and Nathan Tyson scored the goals.

In the first meeting that took place earlier in the current campaign, the spoils were shared as Warburton gave Halifax an early lead before the Spireites left it late to steal a point through Jack Clarke.

Given the variety of results in the last five encounters, all is still to play for as both sides aim to leave everything on the pitch in the National League play-off, with the chance of playing the Moors in the semi-finals.

By Sam Plummer