Can Hucknall get back on track at Swanwick?

Hucknall Town assistant manager Phil Henry and manager Andy Graves.
Hucknall Town assistant manager Phil Henry and manager Andy Graves.

Despite a second successive defeat, Hucknall Town are in good form and assistant boss Phil Henry believes they will bounce back at Swanwick Pentrich Road this Saturday.

A 4-1 FA Vase exit at Eastwood CFC the week before was Hucknall’s first defeat after an impressive start to the new season.

But away to CML South title rivals Sherwood Colliery on Saturday, missed chances proved costly as they went down 2-0.

However, Henry said the performance was one of their better ones which augers well for Saturday’s game at Swanwick.

“It was a really even game on Saturday and it was interesting that the Sherwood manager said, on the basis of chances created, it could have been 4-4 - he’s probably not far off with that to be honest,” said the assistant boss.

“Nobody wants to lose and the Eastwood game, by our standards, was lacklustre so we were hoping to bounce back and take the points at Sherwood.

“I think we did all the rights things bar hit the back of the net. You are playing against a top side and that’s the acid test. It’s great to compete but we’ve got to convert, and we didn’t do that on Saturday.

“The result was disappointing but not the performance. The effort put in was commendable.

“In the first half of the game we did more than enough to take a commanding position, but we didn’t take our chances.”

He added: “We hit the post, we drove one very low past the post that the keeper was never getting to, we missed a header from four yards which went narrowly over the top and we got the keeper to save two.

“We ended up ruing not taking those chances early in the game.

“Sherwood are always dangerous. They are a good footballing side. They play the same kind of football we do.

“We certainly made one error at the back post for one of the goals, when the ball could have been cleared but wasn’t, and we certainly came off the back of a long ball in behind us which then got us squared up at the back in a one-on-one.

“They had a couple of one-on-ones in the first half which we defended well and that’s the fine margins sadly.

“If you’ve not taken your two or three chances you are probably going to get chances against you at the other end.”

Hucknall play a Notts Senior Cup first round home game against Collingham tonight (Wednesday, 7.45) and will make a few changes.

“We have one or two niggles so we have rested one or two people, giving one or two others the opportunity to play with one eye on Saturday,” said Henry.

“We should be pretty much at full strength on Saturday unless there is any fall-out from the Senior Cup game.”

Swanwick have picked up seven points from their six games so far and Henry said: “We need to get back on track quickly this weekend. But it will be a tough one to go to Swanwick. It’s not an easy place to play football in any conditions.

“The pitch aside, Swanwick are a resilient outfit, but we went there and had success towards the end of last year.

“If take our form from the earlier games of this season into Saturday’s game I don’t see any reason why we can’t bounce back and take the three points.

“We were probably more effective in that first 28 minutes on Saturday than we have been in some of the games we’ve been winning with a reasonable amount of comfort. We played better football in that first half-an-hour and that’s a really good sign.”

Hucknall manager Andy Graves is still trying to add to his playing staff and Henry said: “I know Andy has a couple of conversations to have with regard to strengthening the squad, but I can’t say more than that as I have no idea what stage he is at with them.”