By Chris Gibbs
And so a new dawn begins. New manager Paul Moore’s reign got off to the perfect start last weekend with a gutsy all round team performance, which resulted in a hugely unexpected 1-0 win at promotion chasing Leek Town.
From a position of staring down the barrel of the relegation play-offs last weekend, all of a sudden, the garden is looking a lot rosier.
The 1-0 win, achieved in a combination of bright sunshine, rain and hail on Easter Monday courtesy of James Askey’s precise header from a Jack van der Laan set piece, gives us a little bit of breathing space but in no way merits complacency.
On paper our remaining two fixtures look favourable. First up a home game with Trafford with the Manchester club having nothing to play for, before a final day visit to already relegated Ramsbottom.
But then, football matches aren’t played on paper.
Paul will have drummed into the players the importance of keeping up standards and not taking anything for granted.
The win over a team, which is in with a great shot of getting out of our division through the play-offs, was an outstanding effort and should be savoured though.
The next task is to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time this season and get our league position secured with a game to spare. We are more than capable.
There were many positives to take from the win at Leek with the players stepping into the side well and truly rising to the task asked of them, while the likes of defensive stalwarts Luke Dennis and James Askey showed the value what having more than 600 first team games between them brings to the side.
After some excellent performances for the reserves, Lewis Holdham made a start and his near namesake Louis Holden – good luck with that pair if you’re on radio comms – made his club debut. It was great to see Joe Slinn, having seen 9 goals fly passed him in his last two games, clearly enjoying a clean sheet too.
The truth is though I’ve highlighted a few here, everyone played their part in a resilient performance built on defensive stability playing in a different formation and style where blocks and tackles were continually a feature.
This was no lucky win.
It would be a tough call to change a winning side but with Jake Lovatt limping off after coming on as a late substitute, some changes to the match day squad are inevitable.
After a chest infection, Max Chimenes could be available once again and Tommy van der Laan is also back in the mix.
A corner has been turned and we’re ready for the next challenge.
Come on Castle!