29th October 2019 - Little Stoke supremo encouraged
ENCOURAGED Little Stoke supremo Ash Coles cast an eye over Saturday’s splendid 3-0 home victory over Sharpness and insisted: "That should act as a big confidence boost."
He takes his team into tricky away combat tomorrow (3pm) as tenth-placed Hardwicke play host to a Little Stoke side displaying won four, lost four, form from their eight Marcliff Gloucestershire County League appearances to date.
Coles was especially satisfied to see his side not only hold firm to their 2-0 interval advantage but go on to add a second half goal against Sharpness guests who have taken to County League life like ducks to water on the back of their 2018-19 Gloucestershire Northern Senior League elevation.
The Stoke boss reflected: "We’d gone into the break 2-0 up in our previous game with Quedgeley Wanderers at their place, only to somehow end up losing 3-2.
"The lads were as upset about that as I was, so when we went in at half-time two-up on Saturday following another good first-half performance it was clear our lads, who have trained really well and hard, were in no mood to allow it to happen again.
"In some ways those two games sum up our inconsistencies; we have to try and do what we did to Sharpness week in, week out. We have it in us as we have the personnel to mix it with any team in our league on our day.
"It was good to keep a clean sheet and it was encouraging to see all three of our strikers – Luke Meacham, Ethan Moore and Blaine Skuse – all scoring, while at the other end we defended well and didn’t offer any real clear-cut chances to a Sharpness side who had lost only once prior to the game and conceded just seven goals.
"I was also pleased with the way our midfield won their battles and created lots of chances leading to goals."
Little Stoke experienced mixed fortunes against Hardwicke, who they faced three times, last term as they emerged with a 4-3 win and 4-1 loss from their two league encounters and fell to a luckless GFA Challenge Trophy first round defeat in shoot-out circumstances following a competitive 3-3 scrap in Gloucester.
The teams are side by side with each other in the current standings around the mid-table reaches, just as they were last season to finish up with.
Coles acknowledged: "We’re looking to carry on with the good form we showed against Sharpness against what is always a strong and physical Hardwicke side.
"I’m confident that we’ll get something from it but we’ll certainly have to work hard.
"Both our reserves and A teams are competing well in their respective leagues too so from a club perspective things are going nicely," added Coles, who is without unavailable central midfielder Blake Lakatos .