Brantham Athletic bid to overcome blip in form
BRANTHAM Athletic boss Tony Hall believes whether his players “want it badly enough” will determine if they can still win the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title.
Brantham have picked up just one point in their last three games – losing 1-0 at Stanway Rovers and then drawing 1-1 at both Thetford Town and at home to Wivenhoe Town.
Thetford had lost their previous nine league games in a row and Wivenhoe had won just one of their last eight, and both sit in the relegation zone.
The mini-slump has seen Brantham, who had won eight of their nine games beforehand, slip off the pace at the top of the table.
They occupy fourth place with nine games left to play and are now five points adrift of leaders Dereham Town, who also have a game in hand.
Hall traced his side’s dip in performances back to their FA Vase fifth round proper exit at the hands of north east side Shildon six weeks ago.
He said: “Since the Shildon game I have not been happy with the performances. It is not a case of anything going wrong but more a lack of form from the players.
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“That happens during the course of the season, but we have just got to keep trying to get results and it will come.”
Despite the gap that Dereham have opened up, Hall is not prepared to concede that the championship is beyond his side’s grasp.
“There is still going to be twists and turns in the title race. We are taking it game by game. I still think we are good enough to win it, but the boys just need to pick themselves up and go again.
“I think it is still there for the taking – it just depends whether they want it badly enough.
“We need to pick our form up again, otherwise the title will go away from us.”
Reflecting on their two more recent games Hall said: “Both Thetford and Wivenhoe battled hard and deserved a point.
“On Tuesday night against Wivenhoe we missed several chances and could have been three or four up before they scored.
“After they equalised we missed further chances, although I was pleased with the performance more than in previous matches.”
Tomorrow Brantham, whose reserve side lifted the Chell Trophy courtesy of a 4-2 win over Walsham-le-Willows on Wednesday, entertain Ely City, the side who pipped them to the runners-up spot last season.
Ely are currently 14th in the table and had lost five and drawn two of their seven games prior to last Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Norwich United.
“We played Ely early on in the season and their personnel have not changed that much and I was impressed with them, so I don’t know what has gone wrong for them this season.
“But we know we will be in for a tough match on Saturday because they are a difficult team to beat,” said Hall.