Graves: Poor start cost us dear

Leon Aikman in action against Selston.
Leon Aikman in action against Selston.

Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves lamented his side’s start to their crucial clash with Selston last weekend as the Yellows were beaten in the league for only the second time this season.

The league leaders visited Watnall Road to do battle in something of a six-pointer with regard to the title race, eventually running out 2-1 winners.

Both Selston goals came in the opening 12 minutes, and despite Leon Aikman pulling one back for the hosts, the Parishioners held on to open up what is now a 16-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Hucknall, although the Yellows have six games in hand.

Graves said: “Quite simply the game was won in those opening 12 minutes - they were very poor goals to give away by our standards and the lads needed a wake up at half-time.

“The response Phil and I got was clear to see and overall I thought we deserved a point as apart from their two goals they didn’t threaten again.

“In the second-half we looked more threatening but they were a credit to their boss Craig Weston as they defended superbly and as I said before the game they stick together even when things are not going well .

“We have been doing well and we have been playing well this season but there has still been an air of negativity in certain quarters which could be more damaging than losing today.”

Hucknall now face a break over the festive period before their next game sees them travel to struggling Teversal Reserves on January 7.

That will then be followed by another huge game as they travel to current second-placed side Eastwood Conmunity four days later, managed by former Hucknall Rolls Leisure boss Jez Corthorn and featuring a large number of former Rolls players.

Graves’ men have a number of games in hand on all of the sides above them and have won nine of their 12 games so far, with the manager aware that plenty of football is still to be played and that their promotion hopes are far from over.

He said: “There is still a long way to go and the result against Selston, although disappointing, doesn’t end our chances of winning the league.

We have dropped the least points and have games in hand so there is plenty to be positive about, although the games in hand still have to be won if they’re going to mean anything.

“I am looking to bring in another striker and central midfielder plus we have Ash Whitt able to resume training.

“We have a three-week break until our next league match and in that time we will have played a couple of friendlies and used the reserve game on December 27 to keep everyone sharp.”