Hel­lenic ‘Con­fi­dent’ Thorns have ‘mo­men­tum’

Bristol Post - - SPORT - Si­mon PARKINSON post­[email protected]

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.”

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