22nd Sep, 2020

New-look Pershore Town excite boss Watkins

Evesham Editorial 5th Mar, 2020

STEWART Watkins praised his new-look Pershore Town but promised this is only the start of their journey.

Watkins chalked up his first win as manager with Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Bilston Town in the West Midlands League Premier Division and then backed it up with a 1-1 home draw against promotion-chasing Wolverhampton Casuals on Tuesday.

It leaves the Plums seventh in the table before they entertain AFC Bridgnorth on Saturday.

Former coach Watkins, promoted to boss after Les Jones became director of football, said the results were reward for how the players have responded in the past four weeks but he is convinced they will keep improving.

“We are on a journey and we’re only four weeks into that journey,” he said. “I’ve been really pleased but I know there’s a lot more to come from the squad.

“We’ve already put in a lot of work and it was pleasing to see that come to fruition in the last two games. There are green shoots there, for sure, but we’re only starting.”

Sam Clark has bagged all three goals in both games.

He scored an injury-time winner at Bilston after his opener in the final seconds of the first half had been cancelled out by a Kev Nickle penalty.

Then Clark fired the Plums ahead against Cassies, who possess the best goals-against record in the top ten tiers of English football – with his first half strike only the eighth the visitors have conceded in 22 matches.

But Cassies replied with Jake Webb levelling 20 minutes after the break.

“In my first game as manager at Wednesfield, I had to beg, steal and borrow players because of players leaving,” said Watkins. “The last two games have been against two strong teams and we’ve put in two excellent performances. Six weeks ago I think we would have lost both games.

“In the last three or four weeks, I have signed nine players – young players I know through my days with Malvern Town’s youth team and when I ran Worcestershire’s county youth team. They know what I expect and the standards I want. I want them to be the best they can be and that’s why we set high standards.

“It would be unfair to pick out individuals, it’s a collective effort. That’s from the chairman to the groundstaff and I couldn’t asked for any more in terms of the support they have given me.”

Watkins says he has no fear in throwing the youngsters into the fray.

“Someone once said you won’t win anything with kids, but I disagree,” he said. “It’s a tough league, a physical, strong league but the lads deserve the opportunity to show what they’re capable of.”

Robins seek vital home win

EVESHAM United host lower mid-table Bristol Manor Farm on Saturday desperate for maximum points to boost their Southern League Division One South play-off push.

The Robins saw last weekend’s scheduled trip to Wiltshire to face Highworth Town postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and remain ninth in the table – five points adrift of fifth-placed Winchester City having played one more game.

Eleven games remain for Carl Abbott’s side, who realistically appear to be chasing no better than a fourth-placed finish.

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