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Clarke calls for same approach for home clash with Raunds this weekend

Patience paid off for Blackstones on Wednesday night as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 home success over Long Buckby at the ALH Recruitment Stadium.

After a disappointing 3-0 away loss at Bugbrooke on Saturday, second half strikes from Matt Simpson and co-boss Lee Clarke saw Stones move back into the top five of the United Counties League Division One table.

Clarke was pleased with how his side kept pushing for an opening and praised his whole squad for their efforts.

Matt Simpson (5295930)
Matt Simpson (5295930)

He said: "I felt we were always in control of the game. We had most of the ball and created a couple of clear-cut chances before half-time.

"Patience was the key. We kept knocking on the door, but we just couldn't get in.

"We could have got frustrated, but we didn't. We didn't rush to make things happen because we knew the chances would come.

"Simmo's scored a very good header from a great ball by Ben Porter which has opened up the game and given us more space.

"We've hit them on the break for the second goal. Jack Bates has played very well. He was probably our best player and to have that energy to break through late in the game and pick out the right pass was really pleasing.

"As a team everyone played well. There are games when you can pick out two or three individual players, but I thought everyone was an eight or nine out of ten.

"There will always be room for improvement, but we were pleased with the performance.

"We played the ball on the floor and had options when we had it. We tried to play at a tempo which suits us."

The opening period saw Halim Halim and Alex Webb fire a couple of shots over for the visitors while the latter also sent a free-kick narrowly over the Stones crossbar.

The hosts created the better openings as the half wore on with Simpson just failing to convert a Porter corner at the back post while Joe Moore-Papworth blazed over with just Ashley Bodycote to beat after the industrious Josh Edmondson had created the chance.

Edmondson then slotted a good opening just wide as Stones finished the half on top despite failing to break the deadlock.

They continued on the offensive in the second period with Martyn Fox producing a fine overhead kick which brought an excellent block from Bodycote.

Ben Wilson had to make a last-ditch clearance to prevent Clarke converting from close range after Edmondson had broke down the right.

Edmondson flashed another decent strike just wide before Stones took the lead after 68 minutes.

Porter's corner from the left was met by centre-half Simpson who powered home a header past Bodycote.

Buckby rallied and Halim rattled the home crossbar with a sweet strike before Bodycote produced another fine save to thwart Edmondson.

Stones secured the victory with five minutes remaining as Bates broke up a Buckby attack in his own half before bursting forward and exchanging passes on the edge of the visitors' area to tee up Clarke to finish with a low strike past Bodycote.

Jack Bates (5295932)
Jack Bates (5295932)

Stones are at home again on Saturday when they host bottom-of-the-table Raunds and Clarke is calling for more of the same from his and Daniel French's charges.

He added: "We need to have the same attitude and same mind-set as Wednesday night.

"They are going to come and give the best they can, but we have got to focus on what we do best.

"Everyone is expecting three points if you look at the league table because that is how the football mind works.

"But we need to go out and do the job. If we have the same attitude as against Bugbrooke then there could be an upset. If our performance levels are the same as Wednesday night then, without being disrespectful to Raunds, we should get the three points.

"We are in a healthy place, but we still need to be a bit more ruthless and score more goals and that is an area we will be focussing on."

Wilkins Makate is suspended for the match after his sending off at Bugbrooke, but Nicky Butler is back in Stones' squad.

They are also in action on Wednesday night when Premier Division side Holbeach United visit the ALH Recruitment Stadium in the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy.

Stones:Bellairs, Easson, Bates, Pell, Simpson, Fox, Porter, Moore-Papworth, Edmondson, Clarke, Boome. Subs: Makate, Wilmer, Cowles, Buttery, Goldson-Williams.

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