Cox full of praise for hard-working players

Eastwood sub Peter Knox lobs the Hyde keeper only to see his effort clear the bar.
Eastwood sub Peter Knox lobs the Hyde keeper only to see his effort clear the bar.

Stafford Rangers were dispatched 3-0 on Saturday before Andy Todd’s late winner saw off Hyde on Wednesday night.

Cox admitted the victory over Hyde was far from the Badgers’ best performance in recent weeks, but refused to criticise his players who have maintained excellent form despite a congested fixture list.

He said: “In some ways I was actually more over the moon with winning against Hyde than I was after the excellent results against teams like Telford and Nuneaton.

“In terms of the quality of football, we lacked ideas on Wednesday and showed signs of mental tiredness as much as anything, but kept plugging away and finally got the winner late on.

“Hyde are fighting for their lives and made life very difficult for us, and they seem to be lacking a cutting edge in the final third which probably cost them in the end, but they deserve full credit for their performance.

“But I felt we panicked a little bit and showed quite a bit of anxiety as the game went on and the goal just wouldn’t come despite some good chances which included a couple of very good saves from the Hyde keeper.”

Saturday’s win over Stafford was a much more simplistic affair although it took 52 minutes for the Badgers to break through.

But once Lindon Meikle had opened the scoring the result was never in doubt.

Cox said: “We were dominant but still needed the goal to settle us down and prevent the kind of anxiety we saw on Wednesday night creeping in.

“When you consider that Stafford then went on to draw at Guiseley on Tuesday and Hyde had held Alfreton, who I think will win this league, to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, it shows how well we’ve done to take six points from these games.

“But it emphasises the fantastic attitude the players are showing and I can’t praise them enough.”

Tough tests

Two tough challenges now lie ahead with the imminent visits of AFC Telford United on Saturday and Droylsden next Wednesday night.

And as well as Cox being well aware that his players will have to perform better in a playing sense than against Hyde in order to get anything from the upcoming matches, he firmly believes his players know that too.

“The lads will know who and what they’re up against and whilst the work ethic needs to stay the same, they’ll be aware that they can’t afford to be as sloppy and wasteful as we were on Wednesday,” he said.

“The law of averages says it’s inevitable we’re going to have a bad day at some point but even though we’ve still got something to play for the pressure isn’t particularly heavy on us.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Emeka Nwadike has returned to the club on non-contract terms following a spell at Gainsborough Trinity.

Date change

l The visit of Droylsden has been put back 24 hours and will now take place next Wednesday (April 6) at 7.45pm.