Castle look to bounce back after Boxing day derby defeat
New year, new beginning. Something along those lines will probably be the message from Castle boss Robin Van der Laan, as we head into our second local derby in a week looking for a morale-boosting win. This time we’re on our travels with the short trip to the Autonet Insurance Stadium to face another local rival, Kidsgrove Athletic.
The Grove had been in excellent form until they came up against promotion-chasers Workington on Boxing Day and got thumped 3-0. Prior to that, a trio of 2-1 victories – before the winter weather put paid to most of December’s fixtures – against Skelmersdale, Widnes and Clitheroe had seen them move into the play offs. So, we know, just as was the case on Boxing Day, that a stern examination from a local rival awaits.
The Leek game ultimately ended in disappointment but there was much for Robin and the management team to be happy about. When we converted our penalty to level things up with 12 minutes left, no-one among the 471 strong crowd could say it was undeserved. But a little lapse almost immediately after the equaliser cost us dearly and with goals hard to come by at the other end, it was always going to be tough to find a way back a second time.
While recent performances have been encouraging in parts, the need for a win is increasing by the week. The relegation pack is closing in. Hanley, who come to Buckmaster Avenue for what looks like an even bigger than ever third successive derby game, are next after Kidsgrove and they sit in one of the relegation play-off spots, only two points behind us.
We travel to the Kidsgrove knowing that a change of fortune is much-needed and we hope that as many of you as possible can make the short trip to cheer on the boys and see us get a vital three points. Come on ‘Castle!