Roberts wants Pickering to build on first win

NPL Division One North West 

Pickering Town manager Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts is demanding Pickering Town use the momentum from their first league win of the season to have a successful October.

The Pikes emerged triumphant from the clash with Ossett United in midweek and Roberts wants the 2-1 victory to be the catalyst for the start of a positive campaign. Pickering face Kendal Town at home tomorrow.

“It is the springboard we needed and we have to back that up tomorrow against Kendal,” Roberts told Non League Yorkshire.

“We need to get some more points on the board because we don’t want to be down near the bottom and I don’t believe we will be down there.

“I was getting a little frustrated with people saying ‘you’ve signed good players, your squad is strong’. But we can’t be a good side on paper, we need to start transferring that onto the pitch. Things are definitely positive. The monkey is off the back for the players. Now we need to kick on and pick up more points.

“October is very busy and pretty full on. It is more relentless than normal, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. Luckily we have a Tuesday off next week before the FA Trophy so we can have a little break. I know clubs can get affected by Covid at any time so we have to keep on top of things and try and get points in case we do miss a few weeks.

“It is an important month. Looking at last season I think they had four points after I think 15 games. That can’t happen again. We need to get points in October and we need to be looking to take three points against Kendal, especially at home. 

“We can’t let any side take easy points off us at home. We need to be dominant at home and we need to address the away form too because as a club they haven’t won an away league game for 19 months now. We didn’t win an away league game at all last season and we’ve lost our first two this season. We need to be looking to get that away win.”

On-loan Scunthorpe United striker Harry Jessop enjoyed a dream debut as he hit the late winner against Ossett. Ossett were also searching for their first victory so the stakes were high, but Roberts was delighted with the outcome.

“It was a big game with obviously both of us not starting well,” he said.

“They approached it positively and so did we on the back of three defeats. They came out and were quite strong for ten or 15 minutes and then we got on top in my opinion. I think we had five or six shots in the first half and I thought we deserved to be leading at half-time. 

“They deservedly equalised and put us under a little bit of pressure, but our response to that was good. It could have gone either way though.

“It was good to get some points on the board and I was more pleased that after going in at half-time in the lead that our heads didn’t go down after they equalised. We kept fighting and we got the win in the end. We need to move on to Saturday and back that win up.” 

Pickering actually started the campaign in a positive way, with the 2-2 draw against Workington – one of the title favourites. However, they did not back that performance up until the visit of Ossett.

“In the first game for 65 minutes we limited Workington to hardly any chances and we created chances ourselves so I was really pleased,” Roberts said.

“Then a couple of mistakes and it finished a draw. The draw was definitely deserved, but at half-time you think you’re going to get the win. We’d have taken a point at the start of the game against a side who we need are very good.

“Then on paper we had two away games, but I was disappointed with our application. You know you have to scrap when you are away from home and we got out-fought which I didn’t like.

“Then the home game against Dunston, it was a tight game and we showed a little more fight, but we didn’t create enough chances which disappointed me.

“But we made chances against Ossett and I’ve said to the players we need to be more brave going forward. I’d rather have a go at teams than have that mentality to sit back.”

Roberts has no current plans to sign any new players. He’s quite content with how his squad is developing on-and-off-the-field, but he doesn’t rule out any additions. 

“No matter what the result has been, we always get together and train and we do little things outside of football whenever possible as a group,” he said.

“They are very together and fully behind what we’re trying to do. That’s the pleasing side, they are a group that is starting to gel which is what need to see. It was quite a young side the other night and we did comment on that and in a way it is quite pleasing.

“The experience is there in the likes of Leon Osbourne, Dave Merris, Wayne Brooksby, Matty Turnbull. I think we have enough experience, but the flip side to that is I like that we have got some young players who will be around for a few years and will progress with us. 

“I’m always on the look-out (for new players), you never stop looking to strengthen. The better the start we can have; it makes those conversations easier. 

“There’s no active discussions (with potential new players), but we are at that stage of the season where people come available because they are not getting game-time so we’ll see who comes available.

“Bringing Harry Jessop in from Scunthorpe was good because I did feel we did need something else going forward. He’s a good signing and I was very pleased for him to get his debut goal.” 

If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.

NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.

We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.

We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.

Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.

We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.

Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.

Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.

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