19th Sep, 2020

Watkins keen to make his mark at Pershore Town

Evesham Editorial 27th Feb, 2020

PERSHORE Town expect Stewart Watkins’ influence as manager to come to the fore in the next few weeks.

Watkins has faced a weather-interrupted start since taking over when Les Jones became director of football last month but chalked up his first point in his second game in charge with a comeback 2-2 home draw against Cradley Town last weekend.

Having fallen 2-0 behind inside 16 minutes in Saturday’s West Midlands League Premier Division clash, the Plums had to show plenty of character and determination.

They rallied to pull a goal back with a stunning Jamie Clarke strike eight minutes before the interval before half-time sub Myles Simpson levelled matters with a left-footed finish.

It leaves Pershore eighth in the table as they prepare to head to fifth-placed Bilston Town on Saturday before a home fixture against third-placed Wolverhampton Casuals on Tuesday.

Watkins, who had been Jones’ coach, has been busy adding to the squad after a number of departures but it will be a growing process.

“Stewart has brought in a number of younger players and it is a transition period,” said Jones.

“Stewart has been putting his side together but he has also had to replace the players who have left. You will start to see how things are developing in the next two to three weeks.

“It’s been frustrating having games called off with all the rain we’ve had but we have been able to train and Stewart has been working with the players to get his ideas across.

“He’s bringing a new voice and fresh ideas.”

Watkins is looking to add to his backroom staff by searching for an assistant manager. The club is advertising for a candidate with FA Level 2 or higher experience.

On Saturday, Pershore had the worst possible start after finding themselves 2-0 down in just over quarter of an hour at the AIM Community Stadium.

Tyreece Ruddock tucked home second-bottom Cradley’s opening goal on four minutes, wrong-footing a defender and firing past keeper Elliot Hart.

Hart tipped a Darren Whitley header on to the bar moments later but the Hammers soon had a second goal.

Dan Munday managed to head a Regan Carthy pass as it held up in the wind and then kept his cool to guide his shot past two defenders.

With Cradley having to include outfield player Luke Kettle in goal, Pershore were determined to bounce back and striker Clarke showed his quality to fire home on 37 minutes, taking the ball on the right of the area and curling a left-footed finish into the net.

Pershore had two penalty appeals turned down and Clarke blazed over but Cradley, getting on top in the early stages of the second half, also had chances when Hart gathered a Dan Danks effort.

However, it was 2-2 on 70 minutes when Simpson’s shot squeezed past Kettle after he broke through on goal.

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