Read our match preview ahead of this evenings Play-Off Eliminator clash with FC Halifax Town at the ARMCO Arena.

Andy Whing's Pre-Match Thoughts

Andy Whing caught up with Moors TV ahead of our Eliminator clash live on TNT Sports!

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Everything to know about our opponents

Halifax Town A.F.C went into administration in the 2007/08 season, after almost 100 years as a professional football club.

Under the name of ‘Halifax Town FC’, the club were initially placed in the Northern Premier League Division One North (eighth tier of English football) ahead of the 2008/09 season.

Under manager Neil Aspin, the Shaymen won three promotions to reach the Conference North by 2011. This included a young Jamie Vardy scoring 25 goals in 37 appearances as Halifax won the Northern Premier League title in the 2010/11 season.

In the National League, the Shaymen enjoyed fifth and ninth place finishes in their opening two campaigns before a poor league run in the 2015/16 season.

In the league, Halifax Town were relegated by one point to go back to the National League North, but not before they had one of their best days in their short history.

In May 2016, Halifax played their first ever game at Wembley Stadium as they faced Grimsby Town in the FA Trophy final. Over 46,000 fans watched as Scott McManus scored the winner as the Shaymen won despite getting relegated a few weeks before.

The club gained immediate promotion back to the National League the following year, finishing third and beating Salford City 2-1 in the play-off final.

The 2021/22 season was Halifax’s highest ever league position, as they finished fourth in the National League, qualifying for the play-offs. In the eliminator, they lost 2-1 at home to Chesterfield.

Last season, more Wembley success followed as the Shaymen beat Gateshead 1-0 at Wembley to win their second FA Trophy in seven years. Jamie Cooke was the goal-scorer in his first full season at the club.

So far this season

Our opponents for today will be looking to reach the English Football League for the first time in their history, after finishing seventh after 46 league games.

The Shaymen enjoyed a solid start to the season with three wins in their opening seven league matches, including wins against promotion favourites Bromley (2-0) and Oldham Athletic (2-1). This run included drawing 1-1 at the ARMCO Arena back at the end of August.

However, Halifax would then go six games without a win that would see them drop from fifth to 16th place in the National League table.

Millington’s side though would put together a brilliant run of five wins in the following seven games in October and November. This included consecutive wins over Woking, Ebbsfleet, Kidderminster and Hartlepool.

Halifax went into the new year just inside the playoffs after beating Altrincham 2-1 at the J Davidson Stadium, but that would be their only win in the league until the start of February as they would pick up only two points from their first six games in 2024.

The Shaymen though would again go on an impressive run of seven wins in eight games after beating Dorking Wanderers 3-1. In this run, they would beat the champions Chesterfield 4-2 at the Shay in one of their better games this season.

Despite losing to Hartlepool and Barnet in the run-in for the playoffs, a comfortable 3-0 win over Eastleigh would see the Shaymen reach the playoffs.

In the opposition dugout

Having been the assistant manager to Pete Wild since 2019, Chris Millington took over the reins at the end of May 2022 after Wild left to join Barrow.

Millington was also Wild’s assistant at Oldham, where he took roles in the senior and junior teams at the club.

Despite this being his first major job as manager, Millington’s first season at the club proved to be successful as he guided the Shaymen to their second FA Trophy title with a 1-0 win over Gateshead as well as finishing 11th in the league.

Key player to watch

One player the Moors defenders will be keeping an eye on is Halifax’s Max Wright, who has already had his best goalscoring season in the National League with seven goals and three assists so far.

Coming up through the youth team at Grimsby Town since the age of ten, Wright would sign a professional contract with the club in 2015 before being sent out on loan to play for Northern Premier League side Sutton Coldfield Town, where he scored four goals in 20 games for the club.

In the 2017/18 season, Wright was loaned out to Scarborough Athletic and scored 15 goals in 44 games for the Seadogs as they finished second in the Northern Premier League Division One North, earning promotion.

In August 2018, Wright made his debut for Grimsby in the EFL Cup against Rochdale before being sent out on loan to Boston United. However, he was recalled after a couple of months and made his EFL debut shortly after.

Wright was a part of the Grimsby side that beat the Moors in the playoff final at the London Stadium but didn’t feature in the matchday squad that day.

Since signing for Halifax, Wright has continued his success by helping the Shaymen win the FA Trophy last season.

Last time out

The last meeting between these sides was back in February, where the Moors won 1-3 at the Shay.

A header from Alex Whitmore gave the Moors the perfect start before Callum Maycock bundled the ball in five minutes later to double the lead.

Just before the hour mark, Jack Stevens scored from the penalty spot to make it three and an enjoyable afternoon for the Solihull fans.

Halifax converted a penalty of their own shortly after, Luke Summerfield scoring to give the hosts chance of a comeback.

But the Moors would see the game out and claim all three points.

A similar result for Andy Whing’s men would see the Moors play Barnet at the Hive for a chance to play at Wembley.