Sam Johnson produced an incredible second-half performance in FC Halifax Town’s vital 2-1 victory against Kidderminster Harriers.
An incredible atmosphere was generated once again by the travelling Shaymen, on par with the standard they set at FC United of Manchester’s Broadhurst Park.
“The fans have been massive for us in recent weeks and once again they got behind us, even moreso when we went 1-0 down” said Johnson.
“They really have been our 12th man and we managed to reward them with another victory”.
The game proved to be as cagey and challenging as many predicted, the battle between second and third saw the home side domimate the opening proceedings.
Manager Billy Heath himself stated Kidderminster were the toughest side Town have faced this season.
“The first 25 minutes were a real struggle for us. None of us were sharp enough, especially myself and they deserved to go infront” said Johnson.
The on-loan Port Vale shotstopper admits he was at fault for the Harrier’s goal in the 11th minute – a corner was fluffed at by Johnson which flew kindly to the path of Joe Ironside to tap home an easy header from three yards
Halifax struggled to get out of their own half, with Kidderminster playing to their usual tactic of possession based football. The Shaymen were caught in the trap that occurs with many sides without the ball – when they finally have it they immediately want to get forward and do something.
This was happening all too often – Halifax punting the ball forward only for the hosts to immediately recover possession.
However, on the half-hour mark a moment of magic was created down the right-hand side. Kevin Roberts launched a wonderful first-time cross that picked out the towering head of Tom Denton who guided the ball beyond Sam Hornby to bag his 15th goal of the season.
The game turned on it’s head seconds before the intermission. Jordan Sinnott was adjudged to have bought Ryan Croasdale down inside the box for the penalty (neither myself or Johnson actually saw the incident). James Mcquilkin stepped up to the penalty spot and blazed his effort well wide of the target.
From pitch-side Johnson appeared to have already chosen a corner to dive to moments before Mcquilkin connected with the ball and seemed like there was only going to be. Thankfully Mcquilkin missed and inspired a passionate half-time team talk from Heath.
The second half saw Johnson redeem himself and produced a succession of outstretched saves inside the opening 10 minutes of the restart- former Shaymen Daniel Nti had a shot well saved and Mcquilkin almost redeemed himself but his effort was also tipped over the bar.
His second half performance was a true goalkeeping masterclass, and Jordan Sinnott’s 83rd minute penalty sealed not only an enormous three points for the Shaymen but was just reward for Johnson’s hard effort between the sticks.
“The manager told us in the dressing room to believe in our abilities. We were in our shell first half but second we dug in and fought back. We’re a good side and that performance proved that” said Johnson.