Harleston Town boss Danny Crow explains how one team talk against Kirkley & Pakefield changed his side’s mentality
Harleston Town boss Danny Crow described how one pre-match team-talk sparked his side to go on a run of five league wins in a row at a point when the squad were feeling the weight of expectation on their shoulders.
After winning three of their first four league games of the season, Harleston were only victorious twice in their next eight matches in all competitions and Crow admitted that his side were feeling the pressure that last season’s third-placed finish in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division was putting on them.
But before their game away at Kirkley & Pakefield, assistant manager Thom Marsden changed the side’s mentality.
“It was one conversation and it was brilliant. He spoke about perception,” said Crow.
“He asked the boys ‘what would you rate last year’s season out of 10?’ The lads said eight or nine.
“Then he asked what would you rate this season out of 10 and the response was about a four because of the points we had picked up.
“Last year on our bad run we were on 13 points, this year we were on 16.
“It was the perception that everyone thought we were going to win this league.
“I just want the lads to realise that people get up for us, people are proud when they beat us and they’ve got to deal with that now.”
The Magpies ran out 3-0 winners away at Kirkley that day which started their run of five league victories in a row, and counting.
Although they have played the most games in the league, they are now sit third in the table on 31 points after 16 games.
Crow said: “I have immense pride with where we are at, even though we have played more games than anyone else. I’m proud of the situation we were in and how the lads have come out of that. It was very doom and gloom and I don’t think the lads were enjoying it as much.
“There was only one way of getting out of it and that was by working hard and believing in ourselves.
“I think the expectations of Harleston Town now are that we’ll be right up there. That is good and it’s because of the standards we set last year.”
Their most recent three points came at home to Sheringham on Saturday where a 3-1 scoreline played out, as Joshua Durham, Nathan Stone and Joshua Wells all found the back of the net.
The week before they showed fight and character to beat Ely City away from home, 3-2, in the dying seconds of the contest after they saw their 2-0 lead vanish from their grasp.
On Saturday’s victory, Crow said: “For 80 minutes we were a team who were winning the second balls and getting the balls in the right areas.
“For us to get something out of the game, to get the three points and fifth win in a row was exactly what we wanted.
“The lads keep working hard and that shows the character they’ve got. They show resilience and I don’t like games when we seem to fold. When we go 2-0 or 3-0 down our organisation isn’t up to our standards. I want us to dominate games for a minimum of 85 minutes by battling, winning second balls and playing in the right areas of the pitch.
“Any team who wins five games in a row will automatically be up there, but it doesn’t matter who you play, there is no given right to be winning games.”
Looking to carry on their fine form, Harleston make a trip to Woodbridge Town tomorrow (3pm), who find themselves 11th in the table.