Hednesford Town boss Rob Smith has called for passion from his team, much like that exhibited in last week’s win against Northwich Victoria, rather than the disappointing performance versus North Ferriby in mid-week, as The Pitmen face Worksop Town tomorrow knowing that a draw or victory will guarantee them a play off place.
The Keys Park faithful seemed nervous on Tuesday night during a game where the home side drew a blank in front of goal and, despite not losing the match, the result gave FC United of Manchester a glimmer of hope – should The Pitmen lose on Saturday and the Red Rebels win, it would be the Manchester team who guarantee a place and Hednesford would be left sweating on Northwich’s appeal against expulsion from the league.
Smith believes his side weren’t at the races against North Ferriby but his squad knows what is expected of them and he is confident they will deliver the required result.
‘I felt it was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayors Show’ following Northwich. I asked for one big effort but I thought our play lacked passion and creativity.
We all know exactly what we need. It’s been a long hard season for everyone and any help the supporters can give us to get over the line will be massively appreciated.’
The manager has over seen a dramatic upturn in form following a terribly disappointing home loss to Kendal three weeks ago. That result left The Pitmen depending on a blip by FC United and, while the Manchester outfit duly lost two on the bounce, after winning away at Chasetown and Northwich in the space of five days to roar back into the reckoning Smith launched a strong defence of his team.
‘I fail to see why any criticism should be levelled at the players by anyone, finishing in the play offs in this league is a great achievement. There are many other clubs, spending far more than us, who would love to be in our position.’
Smith’s final defence came of under fire striker Mark Beesley, who incurred the frustration of Keys Park on Tuesday night, missing two great opportunities in the first half to open the scoring and add to his only goal for Hednesdford since joining the club in January, having been prolific for bottom club Burscough.
‘It’s not right to go into any detail, but Mark has some personal issues at the moment, and although football is a release for him, he does look to me like he is lacking confidence. I think his all round play is good but he needs a goal and I’m sure that will come if he continues to get the chances.’
Saturday’s match at Keys Park is a 3pm KO and, dependant purely on Hednesford’s result, could be a relaxing afternoon or a real nail-biter as Pitmen supporters will hope the climax to a dramatic season doesn’t provide one last cruel twist.