Bourne bidding to stall Anstey's title charge
Bourne boss Rob Middleton has challenged his players to reach the standards they are capable of when they entertain high-flying Anstey Nomads at the Abbey Lawn on Saturday.
The free-scoring Leicestershire side are currently second in the United Counties League Division One standings.
They beat Bourne 5-2 in the reverse fixture in October and Middleton cast his eye over Nomads on Tuesday night as they recorded their 16th success of the season with a 3-0 home victory over Sileby Rangers.
Nomads have netted 75 goals in 20 league games this season, but Middleton feels there will be more pressure on Saturday’s visitors who are locked in a three-way tussle for the title with Lutterworth Town and Melton Town.
He said: “I went and watched Anstey on Tuesday night and they’re pretty much the same side as last time we played them.
“They are very strong going forward and they’re so potent in front of goal and we know it’s going to be a difficult game.
“But there’s more pressure on them to come to us and win because we’ve got a comfortable gap on the sides below us.
“Obviously we want to try and get into the top half of the table and we will be doing everything we can to make that happen.
“We have played to a high standard to only lose 1-0 to Melton, draw with Harrowby and Lutterworth Athletic as well as beating Blackstones after a fantastic performance on Boxing Day.
“That shows we can compete against the top sides and we will need to do it again on Saturday if we want to take anything out of the game.”
Bourne go into Saturday’s match after drawing 2-2 at Raunds last weekend where a last-gasp leveller denied the Wakes a second successive victory.
They paid the price for a missing a series of good early chances by failing behind before goals from Max Cooper and Warren McSkelly put them ahead.
However, the bottom-of-the-table Shopmates belied their lowly league position with a rousing finale which saw them hit a late leveller.
Middleton added: “It would have been another three points if we had taken our chances early on.
“I’m not saying we played brilliantly and a draw was probably a fair result over the 90 minutes because Raunds are a much-improved side.
“But I was disappointed that we didn’t take the chances we created in the first 10 minutes because we could have made it game, set and match.
“It didn’t help that we hadn’t kicked a ball in a game since Boxing Day, but hopefully we’ve shook off the cobwebs now and are ready to go again on Saturday.”
Craig Rook will be suspended for Saturday’s clash with Anstey, but Pinchbeck loanee Luke Gardner returns to the squad.