Blyth’s Assistant Manager Tom Wade believes that his side’s final flourish in Boxing Day’s 2-2 draw at home to Whitby can set the team up nicely for Saturday when Ashton United travel to Croft Park.
“To be honest I thought the first half against Whitby was very poor, and the players admit it too,” he said. “Conceding after three minutes was a disaster and our confidence was dealt a blow but we improved in the second half and in the final 30 minutes we started to play well. We grafted for the draw but it felt more like a win in the circumstances so we need to take that positivity into Saturday.
“On the number of chances we should have actually won it but a draw was a fair result. It looked to me like two sides struggling for confidence and, with regard to us, we have to address this ‘fear factor’ and play with more confidence.”
Wade was impressed with Michael Riley’s debut at left back but conceded he could have changed the game earlier than he did.
“Michael loves to bomb on and he is always positive. We moved him more up front later in the game and he certainly helped to change things for us. Perhaps we could have started the game with him higher up the field.”
Ritchie Slaughter filled in alongside Wayne Buchanan in the centre back position and, again, Wade was pleased with the youngster’s contribution.
“Ritchie had a great game and, in fact I would have given him the Man of the Match Award in the last four games he’s started for us! His leadership abilities are good and he’s a good talker too.”
However Wade rues having to make many alterations to his starting line up.
“We are still making changes to the team and to the squad and it’s hard to get things settled. We have to establish a settled team as soon as we can to help us kick on and for the lads to gain confidence.”