Cleal saw his side snatch a dramatic point at local rivals Fairford Town last weekend, but believes his side ultimately dropped two points having been 3-1 up.
“The Fairford game was a strange one as we started well but found ourselves a goal down, but then showed good character to go 3-1 up. So it was frustrating to then throw it away to go 4-3 down and to not lose is a positive but it didn’t feel like a win, as although a draw would have been a good one before kick off. But ultimately for me it was two points dropped,” Cleal said.
Cleeve go into the second half of the campaign sitting in 7th position, with as many as five games in hand over the sides above them – however Cleal believes that it will take something special for his side to replicate the form shown in the second half of last season.
“Last year we only lost 1 in 19 during the second half of the season, so hopefully we can produce something similar and see where it takes us! I’ve spoken to Severn Sport earlier in the season about what’s happened before and how we can’t change it, so we’ve got 21 league games left and that’s all we can focus on and see where it takes us,” Cleal added.
During the festive games Jack Watts added a couple more goals and took his tally to 28 for the season and Cleal believes that whilst he has so many goals, he hopes Watts can be just as effective in the games where he doesn’t find the net. “Jack’s finish on Saturday was top notch and he showed good composure, which hasn’t always been the case. But he is improving on that front. Listen 28 goals is already a fantastic return, but he just needs to stay positive even when he doesn’t score because he can still be impactful and effect games.”
Ahead of Saturday’s arrival of Brimscombe & Thrupp, Cleal has praised opposite number Sam Prior for turning their fortunes around after a slow start and admits his side will need to pick up all three points if they will be looking to compete come April.
“Sam [Prior] is a good guy a good manager and has some decent players, so the wins were always going to come and I’m not surprised they are starting to pick up. It is always going to be tough against Brimscombe, the local derbies always are, but if we want to do anything this season then we have to win games – it’s as simple as that,” Cleal added.
Bishops Cleeve host Brimscombe & Thrupp at Kayte Lane on Saturday 4th January; kick off 15:00