Friday, 4 October 2013

AFC Emley boss Darren Hepworth: The NCEL Division One promotion race is wide open

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
AFC Emley chief Darren Hepworth insists that the Toolstation NCEL Division One promotion race is wide open and that no-one will run away with top spot.
After almost a quarter of the season, the table remains congested from second place to mid-table with only ten points separating second-placed Eccleshill and 12th placed Selby Town.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce have a five point lead at the top of the Division, but Hepworth says it is far from over and believes his sixth-placed side could have a good chance of winning promotion.
“In this Division I think it is important that you get some level of consistency,” he told Sports Performer.
“Everybody is capable of beating each other and the team who is brave enough to try and put a run of eight or ten games unbeaten together will suddenly find themselves in a decent position.
“It’s only October and I only look at the league twice – once in December and then in May. We’ll see where we are at Christmas and if we’re in the top four or five, I fancy us, I really do.
“We don’t want to fall away from the top five pack (right now). There are five or six teams (who could get promotion), but as I say everybody is capable of beating each other.
“We saw Shirebrook, who started well, come unstuck against a strong Worsbrough side who are growing in confidence and are fancying their chances.
“Shaw Lane are obviously the favourites with the money they have been spending. Eccleshill with the technical ability they have got are doing well along with the likes of Cleethorpes and Bottesford who have started well.
“I don’t think Shaw Lane will run away with it. As good as they, this is a very tough division and they have got to find that silk and steel to get out of the division, like we all have to.
“I don’t think anyone is nailed on.”
Brighton Mugadza
After two defeats in early September, Emley have responded with three wins in four league games. But during the middle of the matches, Hepworth was relieved from his duties before being reinstated.
He returned in the 4-0 defeat at Bottesford Town and then led his side to a 7-2 victory over Grimsby and a 3-2 League Cup win at the expense of Teversal.
And Hepworth spoke of the impact that the last two wins have had.
He said: “It has been a big-time boost.
“Grimsby was a great response from the Bottesford game. The Bottesford game was slightly tough on us because at 0-0 we were on top and we then lost our goalie. Jake Lawlor had to come off with an injury which meant Paul Sykes had to go in goal.
“It meant we lost our shape and took the momentum out of our game.
“But, I was pleased on Saturday with the manner that we came back. We hammered a poor Grimsby side who I know they are much better than that.
“We put them to the sword, but I was more pleased with our performance on Tuesday in the League Cup against Teversal.
“I think we really performed well and I think the squad we have got now is really shaping up well and hopefully we can keep that momentum going on Saturday against Hall Road.”
On Tuesday, new striker Adam Todd fired Emley into an early lead which Doran Jordan doubled.
Callum Pursglove responded for Teversal, but Brighton Mugadza scored Emley’s third goal before Colin Cockerill scored for Teversal to set up a nervy finale.
But, Hepworth claimed he was very happy with the performance.
“We nearly paid the price for not taking our chances and not killing the game off,” he said.
“We had some good chances and were 2-0 up and to be fair Teversal came right out of the blocks and so did we so it was a well-contested game.
“But, for me when we went in at half-time, it was the most complete performance I’ve seen of the boys. Defensively our shape was good and tactically everything was there. At 2-0 up it was well-deserved and it could have been four or five.
“We went at it against in the second half and should have finished it off. We had four or five really good chances to kill the game and didn’t. They pulled one back against the run of play and we then went 3-1 up.
“They got another one and then at the death they had one disallowed so from a situation where we were well on top to one where Teversal nearly got back into it. But, we played well.”

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