LES JONES has urged Pershore Town to replicate the battling efforts they showed against table-toppers Tividale to begin the road to survival – in the first of four successive away fixtures.
Despite a 2-1 defeat at the Community Stadium last weekend which left Town second from bottom, boss Jones felt the display proved they have got enough ability and spirit to escape the West Midlands League Premier Division relegation zone.
However, the Plums face their two closest rivals in the next two Saturdays – starting with a trip tomorrow to Dudley Sports who lie four points and two places ahead of Pershore.
Next Saturday, Pershore head to Wem Town, who are two points above them, followed by further away days at Cradley Town and Shawbury United before they end the season with five home games in succession.
Jones says Pershore have to accept the quirky fixture list and simply concentrate on gaining the points to secure their status.
“Whatever happens, our fate is in our hands,” said the manager. “I am sure if we win five or six games then we will be safe. It’s not easy with the way fixtures have come out, but we have to get on with it.
“The next few weeks are going to be crucial. We can’t afford to go to Dudley Sports and lose, then it’s the same at Wem. We are certainly more than capable of going out and getting the points.
“We showed that against Tividale. They probably had the better of the chances last week but when we pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 they were hanging on.
“They are top of the table but we put in a good performance. A big defeat could’ve knocked our confidence but the feeling in the dressing room afterwards was really positive. It was a real team performance and I would say every player put in a seven or eight out of ten performance.
“The work-rate was good and we played some good football to cause them a few problems. It wasn’t a case of putting ten men behind the ball and just hoping to snatch something.”
Tividale had the edge in the first half and took the lead with a cracking free kick on 15 minutes when Darragh Bustin’s dipping 25-yard effort flew past keeper Toby Wilcox.
Bustin notched his 26th goal of the season to make it 2-0 on 35 minutes, hooking home from Dan Smith’s chip.
Curtis Townley’s clearance denied Demitri Brown just before the break and the Tivvy striker failed to control the ball in a one-on-one with Wilcox early in the second period.
Pershore had threatened with a Jonathon King first half piledriver being saved by keeper Ryan Cheshire and they cranked up the pressure with a Sam Clarke shot being blocked.
They finally got the reward in the final moments when Dane Aldington stabbed home from close-range from a Townley corner.
This weekend, Pershore expect to have midfielder Ryan Reeves back to face Brierley Hill-based Dudley Sports, who have taken seven points from their last three outings. However, Andy Pawson is again missing due to a ankle problem, while Jamie Smith is also sidelined with a calf injury.