Hellenic ‘Confident’ Thorns have ‘momentum’
ANDY Davies believes “good momentum” is with his Thornbury Town team as they set out to pile more pressure on their fellow Hellenic One West frontrunners tomorrow.
Mundy Fields provides the stage for the visit by Malmesbury Victoria (3pm), the fifthspot Wiltshire side Thorns know all about having beaten them 3-1 in October’s corresponding meeting at the intriguinglynamed Flying Monk Ground.
It’s been a fortnight since Davies’ third-placed men secured a 2-1 win at Almondsbury in their last league appearance for an impressive seventh victory from eight outings.
Whilst they followed it up with an inauspicious 4-2 midweek away defeat by Newent Town in the Subsidiary Cup, normal business was resumed at the weekend as Thornbury overcame Premier Division visitors Virginia Water 2-1 courtesy of fine first-half finishes by Luke Franklin and Harry Brock in the Bluefin Supplementary competition. Whilst the away side grabbed a goal back before the break via a deflected free-kick off the shoulder of an unsuspecting Pete Fowler, Thorns’ satisfied supremo felt his team were good value for the win.
“We thoroughly deserved it and. although Virginia had a lot of possession, they only had one shot on target from open play,” Davies said.
“We could have won even more decisively; Marcus Wormwell somehow missed a great chance bang in front of target.
“Certainly it was a big improvement on our performance against Newent. On Saturday, with players missing, we went with 4-5-1 instead of our usual 3-5-2 shape which worked well, that’s credit to the lads.”
Thornbury will enter tomorrow’s game without defender Nathan Sage legacy of his red card in the Newent match. But fellow centre-back Aaron Clark and midfielder Toby Bennett can return to the ranks. An everobservant Davies noted: “Since Malmesbury were beaten by us they’ve gone on to pick up some good results, including a recent 4-1 win against the leaders Cheltenham Saracens who had won all their games up to that point.
“But we have good momentum and we’re playing with confidence too, so we’ll take them on looking to keep in touch with the top sides.”
While Thorns then host second-placed equivalent Division One East outfit AFC Aldermaston for a Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup affair on Tuesday night (7.45pm), Almondsbury strive to pick up where they left off last weekend when they travel to face embattled Tytherington Rocks for a Division One West derby date (3pm).
The Almonds hit back hard from the blow of back-to-back home defeats by Pewsey Vale (4-1) and Thornbury (2-1) by thumping Newent 7-0 on Saturday to set them in touching distance of a mid-table berth.
“We said to the lads before the game play like we did against Thornbury and we’d be okay, and sure enough they did the right things collectively and individually,” boss Neil Bailey said. Bailey is without striker Steve Wingrove and new keeper Jamie Merry.
Tytherington will be seeking to add to their sole win of the season, September’s 4-1 home defeat of New College Swindon. Yet Rocks have been left reeling from 4-2 and 3-1 league and cup losses at the hands of those same fellow strugglers over the past fortnight before losing 7-0 at Newent in Wednesday’s Subsidiary Cup.
“It’s been massively disappointing,” Rocks manager Tim Minihane confessed. “We’ve signed 70 players for the first team so far yet only ten or so had previously played at this standard and many of those have since left us, so it seems like we’re not making much progress. A lack of training, availability and commitment doesn’t help.
“It’s a big jump for me too as I’d never previously managed at this level, but our reserves have strengthened so that can only help us. Of course Saturday will be hard again.”