JOHN Ramshaw has praised his young Eastwood Town players after a contrasting week in the club’s history and called on them to end the season on a high.
The Badgers had their relegation from the Blue Square Bet North officially confirmed on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity, but just four days later Ramshaw and his side were celebrating progress to the Notts Senior Cup final after overcoming Carlton Town.
And manager Ramshaw was determined to take the positives from a mixed week and use them to end the season in style.
He said: “The cup success is great because it’s kept the season alive and given the lads something to look forward to.
“I told them beforehand that this really could be a little bit of silverware at the end of a torrid season and to be fair it wasn’t easy but they’ve dug in and got the result.
“It’s great reward for the young players who have had to come into the fray in difficult circumstances, as well as those who have had to endure everything throughout the campaign.”
In terms of the manner of Wednesday’s win at Carlton, Ramshaw was pleased that after a shaky start to the game his side were able to eventually settle down and get control of things.
“We had a bit of luck early on when Ruben Wiggins-Thomas missed when through on goal and then was seemingly brought down in the area for what we all thought was a nailed on penalty,” he said.
“We’ve been starting slowly for the last six months to be honest and in the league against the top sides that has been fatal.
“But tonight we eventually got going and missed a couple of good chances in the second-half when both Jevaise Christie and Mitch Hanson should have done better when in good positions.
“We had the bulk of the clear cut chances and also showed good energy in extra-time, which is testament to how hard we’ve worked on their fitness levels given how unfit everybody was when I came in.”
Ramshaw also reiterated that the end of the season will act as a trial period for several of the teenagers he has been forced to play in recent weeks, many of whom have shown great promise in tough circumstances.
He said: “We’ve got players like little Josh Raven who we liken to Denis Irwin in that he can play on either flank at full-back, likes to get forward and is a good all-round athlete.
“It was great for Wes Henry to get the winner at Carlton as he’s come from Dunkirk’s reserves to suddenly playing for us and has done well since he came in and trained and then when he asked to be given a chance.
“As with many of the others it was the perfect opportunity for him because due to the financial constraints we’ve been left with little choice but to blood young players and it’s up to them to impress us and put themselves in the reckoning for next season.
“We’ve got six league games plus the cup final left and they’re basically trial matches now for the kids to come in and show what they can do. There are still one or two we haven’t used yet and I hope we’ll get a chance to give them a go.”
Eastwood host Stalybridge Celtic this weekend who, like Gainsborough, are challenging for the play-off spots.
And after holding their own well last weekend before finally conceding two late goals, Ramshaw is looking for more of the same.
He said: “Gainsborough’s boss Steve Housham said afterwards that he was really impressed with the way we made things difficult for them on Saturday and that can only be a good thing and something we’ll aim to repeat against Stalybridge.
“Had we lost at Carlton the season would have been over but with the cup final to look forward to after the league has finished it might just give us a bit more impetus in the remaining matches.”