Stones aiming to build on ‘most complete performance’ of management team’s reign
Blackstones joint boss Lee Clarke hailed his side’s 4-0 victory over Lutterworth Athletic on Saturday as the ‘most complete performance’ since taking over the Lincoln Road reigns.
Clarke and co-manager Daniel French were delighted with the display as 10-man Stones shrugged off the second half dismissal of Jack Bates to bounce back from conceding a last minute leveller at Melton the previous weekend.
The victory also moved Stones up to fourth place in the United Counties League Division One standings ahead of Saturday’s trip to Huntingdon Town.
Clarke said: “It shows what a difference a week can make in football. We were very frustrated after dropping two points at Melton last week.
“We asked for a response from the players, made a couple of tweaks to the formation and it was the most complete performance since we’ve taken over.
“The lads were just on it from the first minute to the last and it’s rare you get a game where all 11 players who start are like that.
“The substitutes also came on and effected the game as well so it was a really pleasing afternoon. We were very disciplined and our attacking was ruthless.
“The work-rate of the midfield was superb. They just didn’t stop and it’s good to see that players are prepared to put that sort of work in.”
With several games in the division being called off due to the inclement weather, Lincoln Road remained open for business and both teams tried to play passing football on a heavy pitch.
Stones looked the most dangerous with Clarke and Jones De Sousa both bringing tidy saves out of the Lutterworth keeper.
The deadlock was broken after 18 minutes when De Sousa again proved a nuisance to the Lutterworth defence as he raced into the box before squaring the ball for Clarke to side-foot home.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser but Stones held firm until they were reduced to 10 men after 55 minutes.
Bates was adjudged to have pushed a Lutterworth player in the chest after getting involved in an incident and was dismissed.
Stones regrouped against a revitalised assault from the visitors and were able to double their lead after 66 minutes.
A corner was only headed clear as far as Clarke who, on the penalty spot, drove home his second goal.
The momentum was now with Stones and after 73 minutes Clarke released De Sousa who lifted a delightful chip over the Athletic goalkeeper.
New signing Filip Czerwonka – a Stamford Academy youngster – was introduced with 10 minutes remaining and marked his debut with a late goal as he raced onto a pass from Clarke to slide home.
Clarke commented: “After going down to 10 men, our performance only got better.
“Although they had a bit more of the ball, we showed great maturity, game management and more importantly to counter attack at great speed and ruthlessness.”
Stones: Bellairs, Peasgood, Bates, Pell, Simpson, Boome, Porter (Carter), Papworth, De Sousa (Czerwonka), Clarke, Butler. Subs not used: Easson, Crockett.
Stones face a Huntingdon side on Saturday who provided Clarke and French’s first opposition as manager.
They raced into a three-goal first half lead before Huntington hit back with a triple salvo of their own after the break to share the spoils.
Clarke said: “It was our first game and the performance was very Jekyll and Hyde. Huntingdon have got a real togetherness and team spirit in their squad so it will be a tough. But we want to back up a good result with another win so it should be a good game.