Townsend: Hot-shot Clarke is key to Pershore’s survival mission - The Evesham Observer

Townsend: Hot-shot Clarke is key to Pershore’s survival mission

Evesham Editorial 2nd Mar, 2017   0

QUENTIN TOWNSEND suggests a combination of returning striker Jamie Clarke and a defensive fortitude will provide the perfect mix to keep Pershore Town out of the relegation zone.

Clarke has marked his return to Pershore with four goals in two games as a haul of four points from matches against Atherstone Town and Chelmsley Town pushed them out of the bottom two in Midland League Division One.

Four points now separate 19th place to 14th spot – from Studley to Heath Hayes.

Having stopped the rot after ten defeats in 11 league matches, manager Townsend believes the last three unbeaten performances, which have included two clean sheets, have firmly pointed Pershore in an upward trajectory.

Pershore will look to extend their improved form on Saturday when they travel to sixth placed Racing Club Warwick.

“Football is a simple game – you try to score goals and stop your rivals scoring,” said Townsend.

“Jamie Clarke has come back and found a rich vein of form,” said Townsend. “You only need to look at our goalscoring this season – we have scored 33 goals and Jamie has got half of them. It’s frustrating sometimes because he isn’t always available but he’s going to be with us for 85 per cent or so of our remaining games.

“But we look a lot stronger defensively too. My philosophy, having been a defender as a player, is that keeping a clean sheet always gives you a chance to get at least a point.

“I probably lost sight of that a little bit in all the turmoil when a lot of players left. We’ve now got a back five that is settled. James Walker has got a new lease of life having gone back to centre half alongside Shaun Griffiths and Chris Whittaker has slotted in at left back.”

Teenage talent praised

Townsend also highlighted the performance of teenager Chris Priest as Pershore upset title-chasing Atherstone Town on Saturday. He praised the Dudley College recruit as the ‘catalyst’ for the 2-0 home win.

“Chris had made a few cameos off the bench but he started against Atherstone and he was the catalyst for all our high pressing,” said Townsend. “He set the tone.”

Pershore produced their best result of the season after Clarke’s first-half double accounted for an Atherstone side which had begun the day in second place.

Townsend was also pleased they were able to follow it up against a Chelmsley side also scrapping for their future in the league. On a night when several matches were washed out, the King George V Stadium pitch was in excellent condition thanks to the hard work of groundsman Tim Phillips, but the two teams cancelled each other out in a 2-2 draw.

“In all honesty neither team deserved to win. A draw was a fair reflection but it means we’re unbeaten in three games and that gives us plenty to build on,” added the manager.

“We know we’ve still got work to do but what a difference a week makes.”

One blow for Pershore will be the absence of midfielder Dane Aldington, who faces two to three weeks on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring tear against the Adders.

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