Football
Confidence boost ahead of derby

By Jamie Arrowsmith 03/05 Updated: 03/05 17:34

FAIRFIELD Villa head into their final home game of the Midland Combination Division One season tomorrow in confident mood after a productive week on the road saw them pick up four points out of a possible six.

Local pride will be at stake as Villa host Bromsgrove Sporting tomorrow (3pm) and they will go into the game boosted by a 3-2 victory at Hampton on Wednesday night which followed on from Saturday’s 4-4 draw at Knowle.

It could have been even better for Villa as they held a 4-1 interval advantage at Knowle before conceding three times in the second half whilst Wednesday’s success came after a fine fightback as they trailed 2-0 at one stage.

“You would certainly take four points out of six when visiting Knowle and Hampton, every day of the week,” joint manager Paul Oakes said.

“The first 45 minutes at Knowle was some of the best football we have produced all season.

“But the game epitomised our season somewhat as we struggled to defend and close it out after the break and had to settle for a point.

“Wednesday was pleasing because we were down to the bare bones but we put in a good display and deserved to win. Even at 2-0 down we were the better side.”

Goals from Jamie Hatfield, Ryan Sproston (2) and Scott Gaffney ensured Villa left Knowle with a point whilst Sproston and Gaffney were on target again on Wednesday with Stephen Morgan’s strike helping secure the three points.

The four points help boost what has been a poor tally on the road for the club this year. They have won just twice and drawn four of their 16 starts on the road, a record which leaves Oakes bemused.

“Our home form is about where it is every season to be honest,” he said.

“But our away form is usually our strength so to have won just twice is baffling.

“There are a number of examples that spring to mind where we have thrown points away though from winning positions. We’ve probably thrown 15 points away which would make a massive difference in the table.”

Villa sit 13th whilst Sporting will finish third in the table, leaving just local pride to play for.

“Nothing much is going to change in the league table as a result of tomorrow’s game so it is all about it being a derby,” Oakes said.

“We didn’t turn up when we played them on Boxing Day but we have done well on the other two occasions and I hope for more of the same on Saturday.

“Marc Rogers will play in goal for us in his last game before retirement so it would be nice to give him a fitting send off for the great service he has given the club.”

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