League points dropped at home for the first time this season
Joint Blackstones boss Lee Clarke felt his side didn’t get the rewards their performance deserved after sharing the spoils in a 1-1 home draw with Sileby Rangers on Saturday.
After four successive home league wins, Stones dropped points for the first time this season at the ALH Recruitment Stadium in the United Counties League Division One.
They fell behind to Dylan Hewitt’s 18th minute opener for the Northamptonshire side before Clarke brought his side level eight minutes before half-time.
Stones pushed for a winner in the second period, but were unable to breach a stubborn Sileby rearguard.
Clarke said: “It was a disappointing point because it was probably our most fluent performance of the season.
“We looked dangerous going forward, but we didn’t really turn good possession into chances.
“We deserved the three points on the balance of the game and, if we look back at the end of the season, it could be a game we needed to win.
“It was a pretty pleasing performance, one of our best at home, but we have only drawn. It’s really strange because we have played worse this season and won.
“The reaction of their players at the end showed they thought it was a great point. We are always confident of getting three points at home so it could be two points dropped come the end of the season.”
Stones had gone into the clash on the back of a 5-0 home humbling in the League Cup clash against Melton Town last week.
They made a promising start on Saturday with the visiting goalkeeper making a couple of acrobatic saves to thwart Clarke, Jezz Goldson-Williams and Joe Moore-Papworth whose thundering shot was tipped onto the bar.
Sileby grew into the contest and were awarded a free-kick after 18 minutes which Hewitt struck sweetly inside the post despite the efforts of home goalkeeper Aaron Bellairs.
Stones upped the pressure with Martyn Fox ruling the roost in the midfield and Bates overlapping down the wing to stretch the visiting defence.
However, some sterling defending brought the home team’s efforts to grinding halts and stifled any chances.
That was until the 37th minute when Stones’ continued pressure earned a corner and Clarke, in among a crowd of players, met the ball powerfully with his head to level the score.
The second half saw Stones once more push the visitors back but again any breaks were clinically dealt with and the home side were unable to capitalise.
The point leaves Stones in sixth spot ahead of Saturday’s Division One trip to Thrapston Town.
Clarke continued: “It was a tight game at Thrapston last season and, like all the away games, it will be tough again.
“If we are not at it or don’t have the right mind-set then it will be a very tough place to go.
“We are confident though. We’ve got our fullest squad for some time so we’ve got some decisions to make.”
Stones have also strengthened their ranks by signing teenager Khaya Roudette-Gregory who has joined on 28 days work experience from Peterborough United.
Clarke commented: “Khaya’s only 16-years-old, but he’s 6ft 5ins. He can play in a couple of attacking positions and will give us more of a goal threat and create competition for places.”
Stones: Bellairs, Bates (Easson), Wilmer, Pell, Simpson, Fox, Porter, Moore-Papworth, Goldson-Williams, Clarke, Edmondson (Roudette-Gregory). Subs not used: Crockett, Cowles.
Game sponsor Liz Davies awarded the man of the match to Martyn Fox.