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Graves: ‘I’ll take it in the neck but I don’t miss from two yards’

Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.
Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.

Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves voiced frustrations over his side’s finishing after the Yellows were held to a 1-1 draw by Holbrook St Michaels.

The result leaves Town some way off the pace at the top of the Central Midlands Football League South Division, with leaders Sherwood Colliery 14 points clear.

Colliery, who edged a tense affair at Watnall Road the previous week 1-0, have played two more than Hucknall and six more than third-placed Eastwood CFC, 18 points behind the leaders.

Graves did not shy away from responsibility but demanded his team improve after the disappointing result to a struggling Holbrook side.

He said: “We missed chances again and didn’t work hard enough. We let them bully the referee which affected us but we still do enough. There’s not much more I can do when we have players missing the chances that they are doing.

“I said in the dressing room, the defenders backed off and parted like the Red Sea and gave them one chance. That was the only mistake they’ve made but the players up front have let them down yet again.

“We had a lot of good chances in a game where we probably didn’t deserve them. If you create five chances you’ve got to take two or three, there’s no other option.

“I’ll take the blame for it as I always do because I’ve got to be protective of my players. I’ve told them tonight, maybe they should start thinking about taking responsibility as I’ve been loyal to them.

“Maybe we have to start making changes because the same scenario is happening again. I’ll take it in the neck again as if it is my fault, but I don’t miss from two yards.”

The referee was at the centre of many controversial moments in the clash and Graves was shocked at the performance of the official though thought he made the right call for his side’s penalty, which was scored by Joe Ashurst to give Hucknall a point.

“The referee surprised me, he was poor,” said Graves.

“He let the game run away from him and was bullied by the opposition’s bench. I don’t blame Holbrook’s players’ performances, they put passion in and wanted to stop the play with hard challenges and that’s fine. Even so, the referee’s performance isn’t an excuse for the result.”

Despite two poor results, Graves was unfazed when hearing that both Sherwood and Eastwood won their respective matches on Saturday.

“We have to beat Pinxton twice now and Eastwood can still slip up, we’re still playing for second,” said Graves.