Despite putting on a goalkeeping masterclass to keep his second clean sheet in four days at Matlock Town, Adam McHugh insisted that his Blyth Spartans teammates have just as much to do with the defensive shutouts as the former St Mirren and Hartlepool United stopper.
The 24-year-old perfectly predicted where Michael Williams was placing his first half penalty, before he produced a number of world class saves to deny the dominant Derbyshire side from winning Tuesday’s Evo-Stik Premier League clash.
However, the ever-modest McHugh was quick to play down his goalkeeping heroics – as he insisted that the rest of the Blyth players each played their part in helping him to avoid picking the ball out of the back of the net.
McHugh admitted: “I made a few saves but, to keep a clean sheet, you need all the lads. So, whoever plays in front of me, I feel confident of them all doing their job and helping me get a clean sheet.
“Considering it was a Tuesday night and away at a tricky place like Matlock – after the lads have worked all day and then had to travel three or four hours.
“Sometimes, the keeper pulls off a few saves, but we win together and we lose together.”
Many in attendance would have questioned if McHugh was superhuman after some of the saves that he pulled off against Matlock, but Spartans’ number one stated that he just went about his business in the usual way and that his back-line were just as much to thank for the result.
He added: “I was just doing my job and, everything that came at me, I was just trying to save it. I look at my game as a whole – my kicking, crossing etc – and I’m always looking to improve.
“I was just trying to slow the game down at times – as, like I say, a point for us away from home on a Tuesday night is a good result. I thought we might be able to nick one at the end, but my focus was stopping as much as they threw at us as I could.
“I thought we defended well. I did my job, but so did all the lads in the defence; they put their bodies on the line and headed away anything that came over to them.”
McHugh’s penalty save was his second of the season – after having seen Robert Dale throw down the gauntlet by parrying away a penalty in the 2-1 win over Grantham back in August. However, McHugh – who has only been beaten once from the spot during his Spartans career – revealed that Blyth’s captain is claiming a second save for himself.
McHugh explained: “He’s claiming the Marine one as well – as he came up to me and told me that the lad was going to go to my left. I think I’ve faced four penalties in my Blyth career and I’ve saved three, so long may it continue… or, hopefully, we can stop giving them away!”
Alun Armstrong’s side now face another long away trek this weekend – as they travel to recently relegated Hednesford Town on Saturday. Even though Spartans will be cooped up on the team coach ahead of another important league fixture, McHugh is backing the lads to continue their solid defensive showings and build on them with a few goals as well.
McHugh said: “I imagine the lads will be confident for Saturday now. That’s two clean sheets on the bounce now, so we’ll be looking to keep another and – hopefully – we can score a couple at the other end too.
“I think we showed last Saturday against Mickleover that we can play football, we just need to take our chances. Alun has told us that the first thing is a clean sheet though and then we can build on that, so I hope we can put a few past them and take the pressure off those of us at the back.”