Stones go back to basics for winning return
Co-Blackstones boss Lee Clarke admitted his side’s performance in Saturday’s 4-1 home success over Buckingham was worlds apart from their previous two games.
Stones had gone into the United Counties League Division One clash having suffered back-to-back defeats against both Olney and Harrowby.
However, a hat-trick from Jones De Sousa helped inspire Stones to an excellent home win which saw them leaqpfrog a decent Robins outfit in the league standings.
Clarke said: “We had lost our last two games comfortably and seemed to have lost a bit of our edge and bite in those games.
“We asked the lads to go back to basics and play to our strengths rather than play in to the opposing teams hands from the start.
“We came out of the blocks very fast, playing at a quick tempo, pressing high and breaking at speed.
“We controlled the majority of the first half and squandered a fair few opportunities to increase the lead which Jones had given us.
“We were mindful at half-time that we didn’t want to take our foot off the gas. Although we had controlled the game, at 1-0 you’re always one mistake or a bit of quality away from a sucker punch.
“We needn’t have worried. We started even better than we did in the first half and continued to dominate.
“The performance was worlds apart from our last two. We were back to doing what we do best with a lot more energy and quality than we showed against Olney and Harrowby.”
Stones went into the game off the back of two defeats and really needed a result to lift their spirits at the tail end of the season.
They showed their intent in the first minute with Joe Papworth finding the net, only for the effort to be ruled for offside.
However, just two minutes later Stones did take the lead as Harry Peasgood battled through several tackles just inside the visitors half and, with determination and a favourable bounce of the ball, was able to push a pass out to Hugo Elwood who laid off a well-weighted pass to De Sousa who calmly slotted home.
Both teams began to settle into the game, but the visitors never really threatened the Stones goal while the home side failed to extend the lead.
The second half started with Stones attacking from the off and a minute after the restart Clarke flicked a high ball over the defence onto the edge of the box where De Sousa outsprinted the defence drove the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Stones were now in control of the game and kept pressing the visitors’ defence before extending their lead just past the hour mark.
De Sousa once more beat the Buckingham defence for pace, only this time turning provider by driving a lowcross into the six-yard box where Clarke steered the ball past the keeper.
Stones were still celebrating when, from the off, Buckingham caught the defence napping and an unmarked Kelvin Osei-Addo had the easy task of driving the ball into the roof of the net.
This woke Stones up and they fought to regain dominance of the game and the final nail was hammered in again by De Sousa with under 15 minutes to go when he again popped up behind the defensive line to slot the ball past the visitors’ keeper.
Clarke commented: “Jones will rightly get the majority of the plaudits – he was unplayable, always on the shoulder and always looking to hurt the opposition with his running.
“But I’d also like to give a special mention to our midfield.
“Two 18-year-olds (Harry Peasgood and Hugo Elwood) and a 22-year-old (Joe Papworth) and their energy, hard work and quality on the ball really gave us a platform to work from.
“It was a good response from everyone and really sets us up for a tough final week of the season.”
Stones: Bellairs, Bates, Wilmer, Pell, Simpson, Peasgood, Porter, Papworth (Easson), De Sousa (Edmondson), Clarke, Elwood. Subs not used: Buttery, Hands, Crockett.