Manager talks of upturn in confidence following seven points in seven days.
Jim Bentley has described AFC Fylde’s 1-0 victory over Aldershot Town on Saturday afternoon as “just what was needed”, polishing off a successful seven days of Vanarama National League fixtures in the Coasters’ bid for survival.
Bentley’s men now sit just four points adrift of Wrexham who slot in at fifth-from-bottom after back-to-back wins, and the manager gave an honest assessment of recent weeks.
“The win was just what was needed – we’ve had a good week,” he said.
“While I’ve been positive and quite complimentary about how we’ve gone about our jobs with regard to how well we’ve been playing, I don’t think we’ve got the results that we’ve deserved for one reason or another.
“There have been certain games where that hasn’t applied – take the Dover game, one that got away from us as can happen at any level, and that was when we got to a stage where we couldn’t accept it. We’ve since had large discussions and meetings, the club have been great with backing us with certain things, and it’s now about being positive for the future.”
Bentley continued his discussion of the recent turn in fortunes, whilst also stressing that it is crucial the team now look ahead and take advantage of the healthy momentum.
“All the cliches about rolling our sleeves up and coming out fighting – that’s what we have to do. As it is at the minute, the games that we’re playing aren’t pretty and aren’t our brand – we’ve shown at times that we can play good football – but it’s just about grinding out results now.
“Ultimately, when we had our meeting, our 12-game plan, we’ve come on strong. We wanted to beat Solihull last week but I do think it was a really good point in the end. It was a good clean sheet, and it was important that we never lost that game. We got a nice vibe after that, where we went on to earn a great result on Tuesday and now onto today, where we’ve ended up with seven points from a possible nine.
“A big week for us, though, is all that it is. It’s gone, and we have to move forward into the future now. We’ll show the determination, desire and togetherness that have been evident recently. What we’ve seen is the way that if someone makes a mistake, a teammate is getting round to cover. We had situations against Aldershot where Ryan Croasdale and Tyler French made excellent last-ditch interventions, and that’s as important as creating goals ourselves at the other end.”
The boss made an astute acquisition prior to the stalemate with Solihull Moors, bringing in experienced goalkeeper Josh Lillis from Rochdale. He is confident that the stopper has made a significant impact, acting as a “calming influence” for his teammates.
“Josh is an experienced lad, he’s played his football at a higher level, and I know him personally – his dad was my assistant manager at Morecambe, so I know he comes from good stock.
“Regarding our goalkeepers, I can’t speak highly enough of Sam Hornby, James Montgomery’s had some difficult times injury-wise, and Dan Lavercombe came in for the FA Cup game that we won. Sam came in at a difficult time, he’d be the first to hold his hands up to one or two mistakes, but he’s made some superb saves and kept us in games as well.
“Sometimes when you’re in a position that we find ourselves in and every game’s tight, all those things that you look through and identify, you feel you need to change something to break the cycle, so to speak. Josh has come in, kept two clean sheets and does have a calming influence – a different face and voice in the dressing room. We brought him in for the right reasons, and over the past week he’s proven successful for us.”
Finally, Bentley is optimistic about the challenge that lies ahead for the Coasters, with nine National League fixtures still due to be played.
“It’s important that you move from game to game and ask the players to go out and give it their absolute all, which they’re doing to try and win games of football.
“We’ve now given ourselves a leg up, and we know which teams we’re clawing back. We have some big games to come, and we’ll focus on getting points on the board and moving ahead of them.
“It’s important not to look too far ahead when preparing for games, and it’s all about Tuesday now. And, we can’t do anymore than we have done in the past week towards it for confidence. It will be tough – the playing surface for one – but we’ll look to get points on the board and assess the table again afterwards.”