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Home arrow Southern Counties East Football League News arrow We've got a great chance of getting through to the semi-finals, says Herne Bay boss Simon Halsey
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
We've got a great chance of getting through to the semi-finals, says Herne Bay boss Simon Halsey PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 February 2012
HERNE BAY boss Simon Halsey says his players must take advantage of the expansive playing surface at fortress Winch’s Field and send Larkhall Athletic crashing out of The FA Carlsberg Vase on Saturday.

The Bath based outfit arrive in Kent sitting in fourth place in the Toolstation Western League top-flight, but Herne Bay have enough quality in their ranks to progress through to the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history and to turn their winning at Wembley dream into a reality.

Having not played since their only Kent Hurlimann Football League defeat of the season – away to VCD Athletic on 28 January – Halsey fielded his first team squad in a reserve team fixture last night to blow the cobwebs away.

Goals from Luke Harvey – ending his goal drought since scoring the winner against Hythe Town in the Kent League Cup final in May 2011 – and a last minute Tom Parker penalty secured a 2-0 home win over Erith Town, which also took the club to the summit of the Kent League Division One table.

Halsey was satisfied with the work-out, saying, “They got a run out, a blow out and blew out some cobwebs so the game last night served its purpose.  A 2-0 win, job done!

“A little bit of rain last night didn’t help the pitch but they said it will be dry for the next couple of days.  The pitch looked good before the game.  Groundsman Charlie (Turner) will go on it and it will be fine for Saturday and we’re ready to go Saturday.”

The FA Carlsberg Vase showdown against Larkhall Athletic had previously been called off on the morning of the game, last Saturday, thanks to a severe overnight frost of minus seven degrees, despite qualified local referee Mike Marsh passing the pitch playable the previous afternoon.

Heroic volunteers had swept snow off the Winch’s Field pitch but their efforts went unrewarded owing to the big freeze.

Halsey reflected: “As the day progressed on the Friday we got the phone call from the ground saying try and get the players ready as there was a chance of getting it on so everyone got into their Friday night routine.

“That’s why I had a beer on the Friday night because I’ve got a routine that I do myself on a Friday.  I went out for a meal and a red wine with the missus and got myself ready for Saturday but unfortunately the minus seven took its toll but roll on this Saturday.”

Halsey will have his troops fully prepared to do battle against Larkhall Athletic as they bid to reach the last eight and look forward to a trip to either Shortwood United or Ashington on 3 March.

“I’ve had them watched twice.  We haven’t had them watched any more as they haven’t played like we haven’t.  I know their weaknesses and their strengths and we have to try to exploit them but they’re on a good record of their own. 

“When I look at the league table I know they’ve got a good record, a good record of goals for and goals against. They’re standing fourth in their league and they’re going to come and have a go at us and no doubt they’ll be a good side.

“But at the same time if their manager is looking at our league table our record speaks for itself.  We still sit at the top of the league with only one loss and still thirteen points clear.

“I’m sure they’re going to worry about us as much as we are them.”

Halsey added: “We’ll use the home advantage as our pitch suits us.  We haven’t lost at home in over a year. We’ve gone away to VCD the other week but at home in the league we do alright in our ground.

“Home advantage will have its say in the game, I think.

“It was important I got through to them yesterday, to get back to doing the right things.  Yes, it was a reserve game, it was a fixture we’d taken, but it was important we got back into the habit of doing the right things and trying to pass the ball when we could and hit the right areas of the pitch if things weren’t on.

“We kept a clean sheet and defended well.  Last night served its purpose.  They all knew it wasn’t a jolly up.  It was a serious game to blow the cob webs and to be ready for Saturday.”

Halsey admitted he knows what his starting eleven for Saturday is, but he is going to keep his crucial team selection under wraps until 75 minutes before the big kick-off.

He said: “All my lads will know that at quarter-to-two on Saturday.  They won’t know before that, as normal.

“We’ll cross the t’s and dot the i’s a bit more this weekend in preparation.  I haven’t asked them to change their preparation but just to make sure they’ll do things a little bit better on Friday night and Saturday morning and make sure everything’s dotted and crossed.

“If we can get a result on Saturday we’ve got a great chance of getting through to the semi-finals.  We’ve got to go away in the next round but if we can win Saturday I think we’ve got a great chance.”

With a trip to Wiltshire or Northumberland awaiting in the quarter-finals, Halsey said their trip to Newcastle Benfield in the previous round will be a good experience for his talented side.

“That was the good thing about having the Newcastle trip away as they know what it’s like travelling away,” he added.

“We have to get past Saturday first, that’s what we’re concentrating on.  That’s the major hurdle.  I won’t have any talk about the quarter-finals as we’ve got a massive, massive task to get through on Saturday first.”

Meanwhile, if a replay is needed (Saturday’s game will go into extra time if required), the replay will take place at Plain Ham, Charlcombe Lane, Larkhall, Bath on Saturday 25 February.

Visit Herne Bay’s website: www.hernebayfc.net  

Herne Bay  v  Larkhall Athletic
The FA Carlsberg Vase Fifth Round
Saturday 18th February 2012
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5SG

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