QUENTIN Townsend says Pershore Town will view the visit of champions-elect Walsall Wood as another chance to prove how far they have progressed.
The Plums manager praised his side’s ‘bouncebackability’ after keeping out top-seven sides Racing Club Warwick and Heather St John’s to collect four points from a possible six in Midland League Division One.
It was the perfect fillip after the seven-goal ‘embarrassment’ in losing to Paget Rangers the previous week but the challenge now will be to follow it up at home to table-toppers and top scorers Walsall Wood on Saturday.
A stunning Alfie Bloomer strike sealed a 1-0 win at Warwick last Saturday, with Bloomer smashing home from 30 yards, while the visitors, well-marshalled by Tez Morton, were rarely tested.
Then a determined ten-man rearguard action, highlighted by a penalty save by Toby Wilcox to deny league top marksman Simeon Cobourne, earned a 0-0 draw at Heather on Tuesday after defender Cameron Mathewson had been shown two yellow cards.
Considering Warwick had battered Pershore 5-0 at the King George V Stadium on Boxing Day and had been unbeaten at home for three months, and Heather had plundered 22 goals in three matches, Townsend was deservedly delighted by the collective effort.
“After the Paget game, we needed to bounce back and we’ve done that,” said Townsend.
“For me, Warwick are one of the best sides in the league but we defended really well and then scored a screamer through Alfie. It was worthy of winning any game.
“Then on Tuesday to go to Heather who had scored 22 goals in the previous three games and come back with another clean sheet, after going down to ten men, was another fantastic effort. It was backs to the wall and they had chances but we deserved our luck for the way we battled and battled.
“Playing Walsall Wood will be another massive test. They are the team with the biggest budget and they can sign who they want. They are the runaway league leaders but we’ve shown we can raise our game. Against Hinckley and Leicester Road we did that and we’ll need to do the same against Walsall Wood.”
Pershore, who were due to face Coventry Alvis last night (Thursday), expect to be at full strength on Saturday, with Shaun Griffiths, Chris Bright and Dean Waldron back available and Morton fit after a foot problem.
The depleted ranks on Tuesday, which forced Townsend to play, meant Cameron Williams stepped up from the youth team and the 16-year-old midfielder did not look out of place in completing 90 minutes on his senior debut.
“Cam has been on the bench for three or four weeks since he has stepped up and he came in and did well,” said Townsend. “He’s only 16 and he’s only slight but he’s got a football brain.”
Pershore confirmed their season will be extended after the Midland League granted teams the chance to play beyond the end of the month cut-off due to the horrendous weather.
Although Pershore do not face any fixture pile-up – their home pitch has been superb all season – some of their rivals have as many as ten games to squeeze in so the match at Studley will now been played on Tuesday, May 1.