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It’s raining goals at Chadderton – and manager Fish couldn’t be happier
Thursday 15th March 2018 @ 11:08 by Mark Phillip

If you’re looking for an entertaining end to the football season, then Chadderton’s Ark Fleetech Stadium might be the place to be.

The previous two games have been thrilling to say the least, with 17 goals scored in a 4-4 draw with Litherland and a 5-4 victory over Bacup Borough on Tuesday.

In both encounters, Chadderton have been forced to come from behind to take something from the game, and while conceding eight goals isn’t particularly pleasing, manager David Fish has nothing but praise for his players’ togetherness.

Following Tuesday’s victory over Bacup, which has lifted his side to 17th in the table and 11 points above the relegation zone, Fish provided his thoughts:

Eight goals on Saturday and Nine on Tuesday, a lack of value for money isn’t something that can be levelled at our last two games.

I talked about Saturday’s game in my midweek notes and that performance, 15 minutes of the second half aside, reached the benchmark set in the second half of the Whitchurch game and the St Helens game. Although there were a couple of enforced changes I was confident that we had enough quality to win the game on Tuesday.

We started quite well but despite taking an early two nil lead I thought we fell way short of the level I expect. We were lucky a couple of times that Bacup didn’t capitalise on defensive errors and it wasn’t entirely surprising to see them grab a goal back.”

At half time I emphasised the need for us to capitalise on the man advantage (due to the sending off) by moving the ball quickly and exploiting the wings as they were likely to play very narrow. My assessment of their game plan was probably right but we played into their hands by continuing to play too many straight balls and at a low tempo. Even with that I thought the two goals conceded in the first ten minutes of the second half were avoidable from our perspective. When we got back to three all I expected us to kick on and maybe grab another couple of goals to win comfortably; to fall behind with five minutes left wasn’t on the script and again was a poor goal to concede. We showed on Saturday though that we no longer give in and the manner of the comeback in the final couple of minutes was really impressive.

Despite a below par performance there are a lot of positives to reflect on:

– the spirit in the team now is such that we don’t know when we are beat and we are showing real team spirit and togetherness;
– we are scoring goals. After the nil nil draw at Nelson and losing Matt Buckley I wondered where they would come from. Since then we’ve scored 14 in four games, 13 of them in the three at home, and have shared them across a number of players;
– we demonstrated again that we are able to stand up to and compete against an older, more physical side; and
– the depth of quality in the squad showed.

On Twitter it was noted that all of our scorers were aged 20 or younger. This made me look at the squad and of the starting 11 only three players were aged 21 or older and only one of the five subs. This is very much a team that is learning, to do so whilst winning the game in the manner we did says a lot of about the tenacity and resilience of this group of players.

One player who stood out was Jack Ward. I brought him into the squad from the EDS shortly after I arrived at the club and he’s been a fixture since, although often featuring from the bench. His attitude during that time has been top notch, he works hard in training, wants to win every game and has listened to what we have been telling him. As good as his performance was last night I still feel that there is more to come from Jack and look forward to seeing him develop.

Chadderton’s bid against the drop continues this weekend with another home clash against play-off chasing Alsager Town.

Alsager enter the game on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Whitchurch Alport on Tuesday.