EASTWOOD Town boss John Ramshaw paid tribute to his hard-working squad this week after they came agonisingly close to their first win under his tenure.
The Badgers were 2-0 down and then 3-2 up at Droylsden on Tuesday night before an injury-time equaliser denied them victory.
Ramshaw said the reaction of his players afterwards was as if they had lost the match, but he was pleased with their application and desire.
He said: “At 2-0 down you start thinking the worst but we suddenly stepped up a gear and before you knew it we were 3-2 up having scored one very good goal and two from set-pieces.
“We’ve then been denied by what I saw as an error by the assistant referee who failed to see a foul on Chris Shaw at the back post which allowed the lad to head across goal and create the equaliser.
“Admittedly Ian Deakin uncharacteristically conceded at his near post for that goal, but he made up for it with a world class save moments later to save us from defeat.
“After the game I had to really try and pick the lads’ heads up because they felt cheated out of it at the end and almost like they’d lost the game.
“But they have been excellent recently and are really starting to take on board what we’re doing and are working very hard.
“I can honestly see light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s obviously still a lot to do.”
Ramshaw was disappointed to see last Saturday’s encounter with Solihull Moors called off just 20 minutes before kick-off.
A floodlight pylon was deemed insecure in the high winds which buffeted Coronation Park all day, and the match was postponed for safety reasons.
“I was very frustrated because I could see the players had a sparkle about them on Saturday and having trained well all week were really up for the game,” said Ramshaw.
“We’d beaten a strong Shepshed Dynamo side 6-2 in a midweek friendly so their tails were up, only for the game to be called off on what was basically a technicality.
“It seems the club was contacted about the problem around September last year, but the letter was carelessly filed under the previous regime and Saturday was the first we knew of the issue.
“The whole thing could end up costing us a lot of money once we’ve paid Solihull’s expenses and had the problem fixed, so all in all it’s a very regrettable situation.”
The Badgers travel to Cheltenham Town’s Abbey Business Stadium on Saturday to face Gloucester City.
Their hosts are one of only three teams Eastwood have beaten this season, a 2-1 win in August sealed by goals from Lee Morris and Jason Bradley.
And while a lot has changed since then, Ramshaw feels his side has a chance of taking something from the game.
He said: “It’s good opportunity to play in a big ground with a decent surface, so I’m hoping we’ll embrace that.
“Gloucester are in mid-table and given our recent performances against sides immediately above them we have to believe we can get a result.”
Meanwhile, the Eastwood Town future of Jason Bradley is in doubt after the striker failed to turn up for training sessions and matches over the last week.
Bradley was signed by former bosses Craig Armstrong and Jamie Brough but has struggled to hold down a place under Ramshaw, though he has turned down opportunities to move elsewhere.
But his attitude has angered Ramshaw who plans to sit down and discuss things with the player before the weekend.
He said: “Jason didn’t turn up for two training sessions last week, nor the match at Shepshed.
“He was named in the squad for Droylsden but also failed to turn up for that game which is unacceptable.
“He is turning down moves elsewhere but not honouring his contract with us, so we need to discuss the next step.”
Defender Cameron Fearon has returned to Rainworth Miners Welfare after losing his place to Kallum Keane while on a two-week holiday.
Ramshaw said: “Cameron had done well but he went away and to be fair Kallum has been outstanding at right-back and I had to be honest with Cameron and tell him he was now down the pecking order. He managed to engineer a move back to Rainworth and we wish him well.”