We need supporters to roar us on says manager
Around 250 of the Stones faithful made the trip to Southport for Saturday’s last-32 tie in the FA Trophy with Bartlett calling the quality of their support before, during and after the 2-1 victory, among the best he has ever experienced in his long management career.
It was all in marked contrast to six weeks ago, when sections of the away support were vocal in a different way during the defeat to Hungerford.
And while Bartlett doesn’t expect as many to make the shorter seaside trip to Westonsuper-Mare for Saturday’s National League South clash, he has called on the fanbase to preserve their vocal chords for match days home or away for what could be an exciting last three months or so of the campaign.
“Speaking personally, Saturday was one of my proudest days,” said the Stones boss. “Six weeks ago it was all doom and gloom when, after the Hungerford game, the fans gave us some stick, whereas Saturday was the best atmosphere – perhaps along with the FA Trophy win at Cambridge a few years ago – I can remember.
“They clapped us off after the warm-up and then we could hear them singing while we were sitting in the dressing-room.
“The emotions at the end were made all the more special by victory which you knew meant so much to so many people.
“They can be flat sometimes though, and then it is up to us to try and spark them, but we are in this together. We don’t want to play badly and they don’t want to be flat.
“The next few months could be exciting but from the moment the referee blows the first whistle until he blows the last, everyone has to do their part to get us over the next hurdle.”
Weston promise to be a more formidable test than perhaps they might have been just weeks ago having, like the Stones, experienced something of an upturn in fortunes.
“They have picked up a couple of players and turned a corner,” added Bartlett.
“But all our recent games have been tight against teams at the top of our league, and we have competed in every one of them.
“If we play to our capabilities I believe we can get the result.
“If we can get a little run going maybe we can give ourselves an outside chance of getting into the play-off positions – it is going to be tough, but there is a lot of positivity around at the moment.
The Stones are due to face the winners of last night’s replay between Brackley and Stockport County – a game which kicked off after the Gazette went to press.
For the Wealdstone manager’s thoughts on the winners of that tie, go to getwestlondon.co.uk/allabout/wealdstone-fc.
VITAL: Gordon Bartlett has urged Stones fans, inset, to keep cheering on his team. Picture: John-Patrick Fletcher (inset: Steve Foster/Harrow Sport)