O'Neill positive ahead of crucial Stalybridge clash
Thursday Mar 2, 2017
Reds Boss Russ O'Neill is positive ahead of Alfreton's crucial league clash with Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday. After Alfreton surrendered a goal advantage to lose 2-1 at promotion chasing Chorley last Saturday; Russ said that beating the 21st placed and relegation threatened side was huge for the Reds:
Speaking to Amar Sharma, Russ said: "Saturday is massive for us, I felt we gave such a great performance at Chorley last weekend and I was gutted to let the lead slip and not only concede the equaliser but also to lose the game totally. I felt we moved the ball very well and we were the better team in the first half, we created chances adn we deservedly took the lead thanks to Hearny's excellent finish."
"We showed excellent defensive quality and limited them to restricted openings but they are a quality side and soon the pressure became too much. Perhaps we should have showed more in trying to close the game out as a one goal lead is always vulnerable and that showed. I think the way we caved in, conceding two quick fire goals was disappointing and its an aspect to work on but the lads gave it everything. We can take positives out of the game."
O'Neill emphasised the need for the Reds to start with urgency against Stalybridge as Alfreton look to create more breathing space away from the relegation spots:
"It's a huge game for us, a side who are well down the table and quite a way from safety can bode problems for us, at the end of the day they have a large points gap to make up. Will that affect their on field performance or will it give them the freedom and confidence to play knowing that their situation is harder to get out of than ours."
"Either way we need to play our game, start well, take the game to them and make sure we keep things solid at the back. We are back at home, in front of our fans and it's important that we stamp our authority on the match and get what will be a crucial three points."
Stalybridge have scored the lowest amount of goals in the National League North with just 24 goals scored but O'Neill claimed that stats were out of the window on Saturday:
"Yeah they have scored the lowest amount of goals in the league but we've conceded the most in the league. Thats a stat we aren't happy with. We can't let stats affect our own performance. We need to be ready, we need to be prepared and we need to be solid. The lads are itching to get going again and it's a huge chance for us with the quality we have to record a big win in front of our fans. I have full confidence that the lads can get the result."