QUENTIN TOWNSEND saluted a positive mentality which he believes will help push Pershore Town towards top half of the table contention for the first time in 15 years.
Only once since 2002 have the Plums recorded a top half finish to a season, but manager Townsend says Saturday’s 1-0 home win against neighbours Littleton proved they have the quality and belief to challenge the record.
For the past few seasons, Pershore have been scrapping to get out of the lower reaches but they now lie 13th in Midland League Division One. The gap to Paget Rangers, the team immediately above them, is eight points, but Townsend senses they have an opportunity to put a run together with three successive matches against teams in the bottom five.
“I think there has been a change in mentality in the last few weeks,” said Townsend. “That comes from performances and results but the players can see they are good enough to compete with the top teams in the league.
“More than that, they have not been afraid to play their football.
“We built some momentum, but another big plus is that we have kept the same 13 or 14 players. We’ve not been forced into any chopping and changing. But we’ve also got options, we’ve got competition for places.”
Building on the previous week’s battling defeat to Hinckley, Pershore claimed the points against the Ton Boys, thanks to Charlie Anagho-Ntamark’s first half strike before keeper Toby Wilcox saved a penalty from former Pershore player Joe Adams with 25 minutes to go to secure the points.
It was striker Anagho-Ntamark’s fifth goal in seven matches since he returned from Boldmere St Michaels.
“Charlie is enjoying his football and when a footballer is happy he is a better player,” said Townsend. “It’s great to have him back.
“He is a real handful for a defender. He is so strong, he keeps the ball and that allows us to use the pace of Jack Downing and Alfie Bloomer. They complement each other.”
Pershore will also hope to have Dane Aldington joining Dave Wilson and Will Stallard on the comeback trail as they entertain Brocton on Saturday at the King George V Stadium before fixtures at basement side Coventry Alvis on March 3 and at home to second bottom Bolehall Swifts on March 6.
It has been feared Aldington’s knee injury would rule him out for the season but a scan revealed a part tear and, after four months’, rest he feels ready to return. He is expected to join Town for the warm-up before this weekend’s game.
Wilson, who is now fit after an Achilles injury, and Stallard, who has recovered from a dislocated shoulder, were both on the bench last time out.
Midfielder Chris Bright and defender James Walker were both unavailable at the weekend but should return to face Brocton.
“We’ve done well against Hinckley and Littleton, but now we need to show we can play the same way when we are the team higher in the table,” said Townsend. “It means nothing if we don’t follow it up in the next few games.”