TWO wins produced differing levels of satisfaction for Eastwood Town manager Paul Cox this week as his side broke into the top ten for the first time this season.
Wednesday’s 3-2 victory at Hinckley United produced a performance much more deserving of the points than one four days earlier against bottom-of-the-table Redditch.
That game left Cox fuming at the mentality of his players despite Lee Stevenson’s late winner, with wasted opportunities in front of goal the main cause for concern.
Cox said: “It wasn’t that we played badly, as we dominated the game and created so many chances.
“But the strong mentality we’d done so well do build up in previous games suddenly wasn’t there and we ended up scraping past a side who haven’t won in months.
“Good teams with strong mentalities would have won that game comfortably, but psychologically we weren’t right and there were some harsh words said afterwards.
“One or two players felt they could take their foot off the pedal and that wasn’t good enough.”
Eastwood’s sixth win in a row in all competitions came at Hinckley, though they had to come from 2-1 down to achieve it after the hosts enjoyed a purple patch either side of half-time.
But with Cox looking for a good reaction to Saturday’s performance, he was left far happier with the outcome.
“I got a good response which is what I was really looking for,” he said.
“We were punished again for not putting our chances away in the first-half because Hinckley capitalised on our first real lapse before the break, then caught us cold straight after it.
“But the lads did really well to dig in and turn the game around, and were it not for some unbelievable saves from our former keeper Ian Deakin we’d have won more comfortably.”
Cox admitted it was strange seeing Deakin in the opposition net after so long appearing for the Badgers, but is pleased to see him playing well.
He added: “Deaks played a massive role in getting us where we are now and I’m delighted he’s still playing at this level.
“He showed us again what a good keeper he is with some world class saves on Wednesday and he’ll be a big assett to Hinckley.”
Looking ahead, Eastwood travel to Merseyside to play Vauxhall Motors on Saturday before another visit to AFC Telford on Tuesday, the Badgers having exited the FA Trophy in Shropshire two months ago.
Cox said: “Vauxhall are one of the best footballing sides we’ve faced this season and will be a massive test.
“Telford are flying but I’m hoping we’ll offer something different to the game in January as while we gave as good as we got that day and lost a tight game, we’d had a long and tough match against Rushden four days before and this time I expect us to be that bit fresher.”