Stones can bounce back after error-strewn defeat

Harrowby goalkeeper Sam Andrew punches clear against Blackstones on Tuesday night.
Harrowby goalkeeper Sam Andrew punches clear against Blackstones on Tuesday night.
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Blackstones boss Andy Lodge wants his side to banish an 
error-strewn midweek loss by bouncing back with victory in a crunch clash on Saturday.

Lodge saw his charges fall to a 3-1 away defeat at Harrowby United on Tuesday night after a disastrous opening half that saw the hosts score three times without reply.

Despite the defeat, Stones stay in third place in a closely-contested United Counties League Division One table ahead of Saturday’s home match with Long Buckby.

And, rather than rue what happened in the midweek reversal, Lodge is targeting an immediate return to winning ways at the ALH Recruitment Stadium.

He said: “We gifted Harrowby all three goals on Tuesday night. I don’t think we’ll give three goals away like that for the rest of our lives.

“Harrowby are a decent side with a lot of pace, but I was gutted about the first half which was disastrous for us.

“We dominated the second half so it’s hard to take a defeat when you’ve given goals away.

“They were all individual errors and you can’t coach for that because players don’t mean to make mistakes.

“But we had a good chat with the lads afterwards and, when you lose games, it’s important to react in the next one. Hopefully we can learn from Tuesday night because the boys are still confident and we can go on from there.

“I’m realistic and I know we’re not going to win every single game. We’re at a level where we can slip up, but it’s about learning from it and getting three points from the next game. We weren’t happy to lose the game, but our changing room is still a good place. They are a good set of lads and we won’t dwell on it.

“It’s important that we keep improving and keep developing on the pitch which will mean we stay in the mix. It’s an important game on Saturday because getting three points is a must.”

Stones fell behind after just seven minutes of Tuesday’s night contest at Dickens Road as a mix-up at the back saw a rushed clearance headed goalwards by Joe Briers and Sam Grouse was on hand to nod home into an empty net.

The second goal followed shortly after the half-hour mark when Tawanda Bilson’s surge into the box saw him clipped and Grouse stroked home the resultant penalty.

A miserable opening half was further compounded just before the break when Grouse collected a loose pass in midfield and shrugged off two challenges before firing home a low shot past Aaron Bellairs.

Stones came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and reduced the arrears within two minutes.

Ben Easson made a run down the right and his cross into the box looped up off Jack Havron and over Sam Andrew in the home goal.

The goal gave Stones a lift and top scorer Liam Harrold sent a shot just over before Lee Clarke was denied from distance by Andrew.

Harrold then came close in the dying stages after shooting wide from close range as Stones fell to their fifth league loss of the season.

Stones: Bellairs, Easson, Wilmer, Porter, Pell, Simpson, Papworth, Boome, Harrold, Clarke, Bates. Subs used: French, not used: Butler, Carter, Connell, Edmundson.