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Mark Halstead post Sheffield United

20 November 2016

Keepers thoughts after the defeat at Bramall Lane

Town slipped to their first defeat since Paul Hurst took over with a 2-1 scoreline away to Sheffield United.

In a first half that saw Town fall behind early on then, a sending off, a penalty save, another goal conceded and a second red card just before the break.

Most would have written Town off but a second half performance from the 9 men saw no goals conceded and a Louis Dodds strike to see the game end 2-1.  It was a performance that will give Town some confidence going into Tuesday night's game away to Fleetwood Town.

Keeper Mark Halstead was once again between the Town posts and again put in a great performance, especially in the second half pulling off a string of great saves.

“Obviously the two sending offs in the first half have killed it as a game and we knew we were highly unlikely to get back into it”, said Mark.

“The second half was a backs to the walls job and we've probably come out of the game with a little bit of credit from the second half performance.”

The red cards for Jim O'Brien and the later on Abu Ogogo in the first made things tough for Town.  When asked about them Mark wasn't in a position to add an opinion.

“If I'm honest I didn't see them and I've not seen them back yet”, said Mark.

“The first one Jim is near to me but I'm looking at the ball anticipating the shot.”

At the break manager Paul Hurst told a few home truths to his players and in the second half they responded.  The 9 men didn't concede in the half and even added a goal of their own through Louis Dodds to make things interesting.

“I think we showed a little bit of character in the second half and defending as a unit no matter how hard it was”, added the Town keeper.

“When you are down to 9 men I don't think many people would have expected us not to concede.

“We have to take the positives out of the game and take them into Tuesday night which is now a massive game for us.”

When asked about his own performance Mark was very laid back despite pulling off a string of stunning stops to help restrict the Blades to just the two goals.

“I'm just doing my job and doing my bit when I'm called upon and hopefully the lads are doing their bit on the other side”, added Mark.

“If I had to chose one save it would be the one from Matty Done low down, he's come through one  on one and gone for the corner but luckily I've got down to it.

“We've done our homework for the penalties and far play to Adam the analyst who sent me a clip stream and the vast majority of their penalties have gone straight down the middle.

“You see most goalkeepers diving early but I've got nothing to lose so have chanced my arm and luckily it's worked out for me this time.”

With Jayson Leutwiler returning from international duty with Canada manager Paul Hurst had a big decision to make.  In the end he stuck with Mark Halstead whose two games saw two victories for Town and two clean sheets.

“We didn't really know until today as to who was going to start but I thought I had done ok over the games I've played and hadn't conceded any goals so I thought I was in with a shot”, said Mark.

“I got my chance again today and hopefully I can stay in the team now.

“Like I've said many times I push Jayson and he pushes me, I've supported him while he was in the team and I haven't been playing and I'm sure he will do the same with me.”

Focus now turns to Tuesday night's trip to the Fylde coast to take on Fleetwood Town.  It's a game that Town will be hoping they can take the form of the Oxford win and the second half at Sheffield United into.

“It's a massive game for us, they are around us in the table but I think it's a game where we can get something out of it”, said Mark.

“I think over the last four games we've shown we aren't as bad a side as we have been since the start of the season.

“There might be some tired legs but that's no excuse as we are going to go there to win.

“There is a lot of togetherness and positivity in the squad but what's the point in being negative as you'll get no where.

“There is a lot of ability in the dressing room and we are in a position where we are below where we should be so it's up to us to stand up like men and get us out of this mess.”

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