Clean sheet is a base to build on says Town boss Townsend - The Evesham Observer

Clean sheet is a base to build on says Town boss Townsend

Evesham Editorial 23rd Feb, 2017   0

QUENTIN TOWNSEND praised Pershore Town’s defensive fortitude to ‘stop the rot’ – and then challenged his side to shut out the league’s top scorer on Saturday.

Town showed their battling qualities to record a first clean sheet since September 24 to take a point in a 0-0 stalemate at Heath Hayes on Saturday.

It was only the second time in 13 games they had avoided defeat in a slide that has sent them into the bottom two of Midland League Division One.

Manager Townsend admits they face “squeaky bum time” in what is undoubtedly a relegation battle but they will look to turn the tables on second placed Atherstone Town at the King George V Stadium this weekend.

The Adders are the second top scorers in the league, boasting the division’s top scorer in Alex Naughton, who has bagged 41 goals in 30 starts.

“Atherstone are obviously a good team and in Alex Naughton they have got the man who is the top scorer in the league,” said Townsend. “I’m sure there will be clubs from higher leagues looking at him in the summer. We will have to keep him quiet on Saturday.

“But getting the point at Heath Hayes has given everybody a boost in confidence. After the run we’ve been on it was vital to stop the rot. We kept a clean sheet, which is something we haven’t done for months, and we had a great chance to get the winner with 15 minutes left.

“But when it’s 0-0 you’ve always got the chance to nick something. There’s no shame in that. Just look at Jose Mourinho. That’s the foundation of why he has been so successful.

“Our back five worked well together and Chris Whittaker coming in at left back gave us a lot more balance.”

Realistically, Pershore will be big underdogs against the Adders but they then face three games against teams in the bottom half which Townsend admits could define their season.

On Tuesday they host Chelmsley Town, who are just above Pershore, and then after a trip to Racing Club Warwick next Saturday they have a rearranged home game with Uttoexter Town. After a tough home test against visitors Hinckley AFC on March 18, they visit seemingly-doomed Southam United three days later.

“It is proper squeaky bum time but I think that brings out the best of us,” said Townsend. “The players know we’re in a mess, we’re in a dogfight. I didn’t think we would be dragged into a relegation fight but we are and we’re all determined to get out of it.

“We showed that spirit at Heath Hayes and we need to roll our sleeves up and give everything in the remaining 12 games of the season.”

Pershore, though, will continue without young striker Luke Church, who has joined Racing Club Warwick.

Church lives in Southam and Townsend admits the move to a club far nearer to home made sense.

“I like Luke a lot, he is an attacking midfielder who scores goals and had got a lot of potential, but the logistics make sense,” said Townsend. “Warwick is on his doorstep.”

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