30th Oct, 2020

Double-figure scoreline was on the cards - Crowther

Ben Tyler 5th Mar, 2020

ANDY Crowther believes Droitwich Spa’s midweek thrashing of Wyrley could easily have gone into double figures as the West Midlands (Regional) Division One leaders flexed their muscles.

The 5-0 rout, in which a Brad Burgess double and Connor Collins, Jordan Cox and James Lemon goals sent Spa eight points clear at the top of the division, following Saturday’s 4-2 victory over another lower-half side in Sikh Hunters.

The wins have taken Mark Owen’s side to 43 points, with three games in hand over nearest challengers Allscott.

Assistant manager Crowther praised the manner in which the Saltmen brushed aside their Staffordshire opponents on Tuesday night, in a fixture played at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium in Malvern due to flooding at their Walshes Meadow residence. But he has urged his side to keep pushing on.

“Five-nil, ten-nil, the scoreline doesn’t really matter; no-one would really have been able to argue if it went into double figures,” said Crowther. “To get three points and to continue developing the gap is fantastic, we wanted to get to this point in the season.

“The important thing for us is not to take our foot off the gas, we need a big push from everyone to see this through.

“All of the Droitwich staff want to thank Malvern for letting us use their facilities, and the same to West Walsall Academy for Saturday’s game.

“Overall though, our focus has not changed. We’ve got ten games left, we’re in a great position, but we must not stop until things have been confirmed mathematically.”

A Droitwich attack within the opening minute of play suggested that it was going to be business as usual in midweek, as Collins forced a stunning stop from the alert Wyrley ‘keeper Jimmy Walker, who then kept out Cox with the next attack that was launched.

With pressure on the visitors’ goal unrelenting, it was no surprise when the Saltmen took a sixth-minute lead, as Cox picked up on a threaded through ball to plant the ball low into the far corner.

The opener gave the hosts all of the incentive required to bay for more blood, which they achieved with their second of the game on 15 minutes.

A ball sat up nicely on the edge of the penalty area for Burgess, who continued his fine recent form by driving the ball low into the net.

One negative to come from the early onslaught was a hamstring injury suffered by Cox, requiring the midfielder to be replaced by Haydn Morris midway through the half.

Crowther later described the substitution as “just a precaution”, but added that the former Aston Villa under-23 player is likely to be a doubt for Spa’s next game this weekend.

His replacement appeared to have made the perfect opening contribution when finding the net before half-time, though this was later ruled out for offside – the same decision also denying Collins a second of the game moments later.

Down the other end, Scott Gill and Dylan Cook had rare opportunities for Wyrley, but failed to trouble Matt Oliver from promising positions.

Droitwich found another gear in the second half and were relentless in opening up the visitors’ defence, consistently peppering Walker’s goal and forcing the opposition custodian into keeping down the scoreline with a number of saves.

Despite his outstanding display of goalkeeping, he was unable to keep out Lemon’s close-range header to make it 3-0 on 53 minutes.

Burgess struck his second on the hour mark when rounding Walker and placing the ball into the empty net, while Collins completed the rout with his 23rd of the season nine minutes later – further cementing his position as the league’s top scorer.

It was not quite so one-sided in last weekend’s trip to the West Walsall E-Act Academy for a ‘home’ game with Sikh Hunters – who proved stern opponents on the 3G surface.

By half-time, Spa had a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Lemon and Jack Davies, though the game was brought back into contention by a Simran Singh strike on the hour mark.

Burgess came to the rescue with a goal from the bench to restore the two-goal cushion with 15 minutes remaining.

Collins completed the scoring for Droitwich with a penalty five minutes from time, followed by late Hunters consolation from Singh in stoppage time.

The small matter of a home game with third-placed Wellington Amateurs, this time being played at the King George’s Playing Fields in Droitwich, now awaits on Saturday (3pm).

With the opportunity to put one of their closest rivals out of the title race, Crowther says the Saltmen are looking forward to the opportunity to extend their advantage, but reiterates that there is no pressure on their shoulders.

“The ball is in our court from our point of view,” he said.

“Whether we get one point or three points on Saturday, it won’t make a huge difference to the current table.

“So the pressure is very much off, we know what we’ve got to do and the sooner we can fulfill these games the better.”

The Droitwich management have called on the town’s fans to back them to the hilt in Saturday’s homecoming, with Crowther adding: “The fans can really make the difference for us.

“They were fantastic for us throughout the FA Vase run, but to have that backing in all of our remaining games will be massive for the players and the club to push us through to our end goal of promotion.”

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