Kimberley Miners Welfare boss Paul Rawden says his players need to be more effective in front of goal if they’re to continue their impressive start to the season.
One defeat in the opening 11 games means Welfare sit second in the East Midlands Counties League, just two points behind this weekend’s opponents St Andrews.
But after seeing his side draw 1-1 at Gedling on Saturday and miss several late chances to win the game, Rawden is keen not to let standards slip.
He said: “We got a point on Saturday but it was probably our poorest performance of the season so far.
“We had three great chances in Gedling’s 18-yard box in the last five minutes and didn’t convert any of them, having also missed a great chance one-on-one in the early stages.
“In the defeat to Blaby last week we missed more great opportunities and once again it cost us points.
“So we have to learn that the higher the level you play at, the more these missed chances can cost you, and if we’re going to continue at the top end of the table we need to take them.
“We’re in our first season at this level and always learning but I’m harsh and critical when necessary as I want winners, and not for the players to come in having drawn or narrowly lost and automatically think they’ve done well”
Welfare head to St Andrews on Saturday to face a side who have only lost once at home all season, but given his team’s record against those in the upper echelons of the table so far, Rawden says there will be little fear amongst his players.
“It’s important to consider that of our first 11 games, seven have been against top ten sides and we’ve only lost once,” he added.
“We’ve got a tough month ahead where we’ll play more sides around us in the table, and that’s going to help shape the season for us.
“It’s crucial we don’t let a great start become a bad finish, as can so often happen.
“Having now lost our unbeaten run, it was about how we responded to that - would the players’ confidence be hit because they’d suddenly lost a game or would they come out determined to show everyone they’re still a good side?
“Teams will catch us up if we’re not careful. Sides like Blaby have games in hand due to cup runs and will pick up points in the next few weeks, so we have to keep our end of the bargain up and aim for our minimum target of qualifying for the FA Cup.”
Off the pitch at the Stag Ground, Welfare are continuing to make improvements to the club’s facilities as they adjust to live at step six of the pyramid.
Various parts of the ground are being improved, something Rawden believes is important if the ambitions of the club are to come into fruition.
He said: “It’s crucial we don’t have a situation where we finish in a promotion place but can’t go up due to the ground not being good enough.
“We’re on a zero budget playing wise so any money we make can go in to improving the ground.
“It’s a big job getting the ground up to the right standard but if we play our cards right on and off the pitch those efforts can be rewarded if we continue to progress at the current rate.”