Confidence crucial in fighting off relegation

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BLYTH Spartans manager Tommy Cassidy was realistic in his assessment of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Boston United, claiming it was a fair result and it is all about confidence from now until the end of the season if the club are to avoid the drop.

Following the weekend’s round of fixtures in the Blue Square Bet North, Spartans remain bottom and are now 12 points from safety, but the performance in Lincolnshire at least provides a platform upon which to build on after a run of disappointing results.

Speaking after Saturday’s game at the Jakemans Stadium, Cassidy said: “Today we did much, much better as individuals and there was a lot more pride involved.

“There’s still a long way to go and there is still a lot we can improve on, but we need a bit of belief in ourselves and each other and that takes a little while to build up.”

Cassidy will be hoping he can instil this belief in to his players and reiterated the importance of tackling the relegation dog-fight with as much confidence as possible.

“It’s all about confidence,” he said.

“I’ve been in the game a long time and I know how important that is.

“If we believe in ourselves there is no reason why we can’t start picking up more points.”

On Saturday Cassidy was just ten minutes away from recording his first win as Spartans manager in what would have also been Blyth’s first away victory in the league this season.

But overall the Ulsterman could have no complaints over the result.

He added: “Being realistic I think a draw was a fair result.

“We were under the cosh a bit in the second half and they are a really hard team to play against because they’ve got two or three big guys and play route one football which gave us a lot of problems, but we managed to handle them well.”

After Ryan Semple had cancelled out Graeme Armstrong’s 52nd minute header, Blyth came close to taking all three points and completing the double over tenth placed Boston with the very last kick of the game.

Unfortunately for Cassidy and Blyth, Jamie Mole’s shot was well saved by veteran goalkeeper Paul Bastock.

“Sometimes you need a little break and we nearly got that when Jamie went through at the end,” said the Blyth boss.

“He did everything right apart from putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Cassidy praised his whole team after the final whistle for a battling performance against The Pilgrims, but he took the time to single one player out for a special mention.

“Dan Groves epitomised our performance by working hard and battling,” he said.

“I thought he was brilliant today.”

Jordan Mellish completed the full 90 minutes in central defence on his Spartans debut and midfielder Max Harrop impressed again in only his second game for the club since moving on loan from Bury Town.

And the Spartans manager was happy with the way his two 18-year-old signings performed, saying: “Max did well even though it wasn’t his type of game because there were too many long balls, and Jordan showed a great hunger and enthusiasm to win the battle against two powerful forwards.”

Another of Cassidy’s new signings, Sam Hodgson, entered the contest as a second half substitute and the Irishman says he is hoping to bring more players in ahead of Saturday’s trip to Nuneaton Town.

“I’m going to try and get some new players in and it’s up to the players who are already here to try and keep their place.

“We need more competition for places in our squad and then it’s up to me to get the best out of them.”