Shrivenham could jump up to third in the uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table in the next week with a pair of wins, but that doesn’t mean manager Gareth Davies will underestimate struggling Burnham and Brimscombe & Thrupp. Writes Shaun Reynolds Chief sports writer for The Swindon Advertiser
Davies (pictured) was critical of his players’ lacklustre approach to training and match days in an interview with the Adver a little over a fortnight ago. The Shrivvy boss even stated tough decisions would be forced upon him if results didn’t improve after his side’s disappointing Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup exit to Malvern on October 15.
Thankfully for Davies, results since have been favourable – four wins out of four have been secured and Shrivenham are also up to fifth in the league table. With 15th-placed Burnham hosting Shrivenham on Saturday, Davies senses an opportunity to lift his side even further up the standings.
He won’t take that for granted, though, and said: “The players have been working that bit harder, and it’s made a massive difference. We’ve got a very good squad on paper, but that doesn’t mean anything unless you put the hard work in. We’ve been asking for the players to work harder – when they do that, you get results."
“This next week is key. Brimscombe & Thrupp are at the bottom, but I want to say their current position is false. They were a very good side last season. I don’t think it will be long until they pick up. Burnham will fancy it on Saturday after winning in midweek too. But we must look after ourselves and prepare properly.”
Shrivenham’s latest win came on Tuesday night at the expense of out-of-form Royal Wootton Bassett Town, who dropped to second from bottom as a result. Sam Collier’s side fell two goals behind thanks to Steve Robertson and Antonio Gerrish’s efforts before Brad Pagliaroli unleashed a spectacular 25-yard drive that found the hosts’ top corner. Jack Allan proceeded to wrap up the points for Davies’ troops, who have conceded only one goal in their last two outings.
Davis added: “I could only applaud Brad Pagliaroli’s goal for Bassett on Tuesday – you don’t save those. If we stop conceding poor goals, our goal difference will be better. We’re winning, that’s the main thing.”