McDonnell praises players for stepping up to the mark

Bourne's Aaron Jesson helps keep a clean sheet in the recent 2-0 home victory over Oakham.
Bourne's Aaron Jesson helps keep a clean sheet in the recent 2-0 home victory over Oakham.
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Joint Bourne boss Jimmy McDonnell has praised his players for making the most of their chance to shine.

The Wakes have lost just once in their last seven league and cup games despite missing a number of first team regulars.

Widemen Jordan Avis and Robbie Pearce have both been plagued by injuries while Gavin Cooke and Richard Nelson are both serving three-match suspensions.

With plenty of strength in depth at his disposal, McDonnell has been delighted by how the players who have come in have taken their chance.

He said: “The lads have stepped up when they have been given the chance to make sure they stay in the starting eleven.

“Aaron Jesson has really taken his chance with Gav Cooke suspended while Tom Cardall is playing the best he’s ever done in the United Counties League.

“It’s easy to do it once a month or every six games, but the lads are doing it week in, week out and have really turned up the level.

“We’ve now just got to keep it going and make sure we keep doing things the right way.

“The crowds are as good as they’ve been for a while and the club appreciates the effort that the players are putting in.”

Bourne host seventh-placed Lutterworth Athletic at the Abbey Lawn on Saturday with victory likely to move the Wakes back into the top 10 of the Division One table.

However, they face an Athletic side who have lost just four of their 15 league games so far this season while also boasting an impressive away record that has brought five victories and a draw from eight matches on their travels.

McDonnell added: “It’s a tough game, but every game last season was a tough one when we were in the bottom three or four.

“This is a tough game for a different reason because another win can move us back into the top 10. We are going well, the lads are full of confidence and we are playing some good stuff.”

Bourne go into the home clash after sharing the spoils in a 2-2 away draw at fourth-placed Buckingham last Saturday.

The Wakes raced into a 2-0 lead against the high-flying Robins who then had a player dismissed in the opening half.

However, the hosts hit back with two goals in the second half to earn a point and leave Bourne to reflect on what might have been.

McDonnell commented: “We did have mixed feeling afterwards.

“We knew we had a good chance of going there and getting something beforehand and, as the game panned out, it does leave a bit of doubt in your mind that we should have got all three points.

“But Alex Brown made four breathtaking saves in the first 10 minutes. We stuck together, battled through and rode the storm.

“We had done a bit of homework on them and knew they overplayed it in certain areas. Tom Cardall took advantage of it and finished well to put us ahead.

“The centre half has then lashed out at Jezz Goldson-Williams and been sent off.

“Jezz has then scored our second and we had a great chance to make it 3-0, but Jack Humphries shot just over the crossbar after making a great run.

“It gave them some belief back and, once they scored their first goal, the momentum was with them.

“We lost a little bit of our shape and didn’t look after the ball as well as we had been doing. It’s another good point for us though and keeps the points tally clipping along.

“It could have been better, but it wasn’t for the want of trying. We put a good shift in and the result shows the progress we are making.”