Cleal praises prolific frontline & defensive duo as Bishops Cleeve notch up seventh straight win

Bishops Cleeve manager Stephen Cleal has praised “one of the most fluid forward lines in the league,” after the Mitres scored six for the second game in a row to make it seven wins from their last seven games.

After their 6-2 win against Kidlington Development in the Hellenic League Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup last weekend, Bishops Cleeve travelled east to take on a Holmer Green side who have been in and around the top six for the last few weeks in the Hellenic Premier.

Despite going in 1-0 down at the break, Cleeve would go on to score a whopping six second half goals to take the points and keep their winning run going. Captain Jordan Staten equalised before goals from four of Cleeve’s forwards put the game out of sight. Jack Watts, Brad Martin and Kevin Slack all scored as a trio for the second week running before two spectacular strikes completed the comeback.

First, Tom Hall scored an overhead kick before an injury time free kick from full back Adam Mace flew into the top corner from a reported 30 yards out.

Mitres manager Cleal spoke to Severn Sport this morning about the game and admitted that changes had to be made at the break in order for Cleeve to keep the run going.

“Yesterday was one of those days where we weren’t good enough by our standards in the first half. We did ok and created some decent opportunities but didn’t take them. Lewis [goalkeeper Lewis Clayton] had to make 3 or 4 good saves so to go in 1-0 down was probably what he deserved…albeit it was never a penalty.

We changed the shape of the side at half time and asked the lads to up the tempo and to be fair they did that. The second one was one way traffic and we deserved the win.”

Bishops Cleeve’s winning run started with a Jordan Staten winner against Windsor at the end of September which itself ended a run of three defeats on the bounce, with Cleeve being beaten by Longlevens before being knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Vase by Wantage Town and Bitton AFC respectively.

Since then Cleal’s men have scored 25 goals in 6 games, with eight different players getting on the scoresheet. Former Longlevens forward Brad Martin has scored 7 in the run, taking his tally for the season to 13 in all competitons. Elliot Kennedy’s two goals have moved him on to 10 for the season with winger Jack Watts behind with 8, with 6 coming in the run of wins.

Harrison Iddles has 6 goals this term, with Kevin Slack on 5 already since joining the club. Former Slimbridge left back Adam Mace has 3 strikes to his name as nine different players have contributed with goals so far this season.

“As a side we always cause a threat to teams and with a forward line that boasts the likes of Watts, Martin, Slack, Kennedy, Hall & Crowe, it is arguably one of the most fluid frontlines in the league and they have all contributed. Then you throw in Adam Mace, Harrison Iddles and Jordan Staten it is very pleasing to see them all scoring.

Our run is down to the spirit the lads have shown and the togetherness they’re all showing, which is great to see. They will all get out the trenches for each other and you can’t ask for more than that as a manager.” Cleal told us.

Despite his side being so potent in front of goal there was also praise for two more defensive players. Former Slimbridge player/manager Freddie Ward has played in the midfield to add stability and Lewis Clayton has grown from strength to strength in goal. Cleal commented on their influence on the side after impressive performances.

“Freddie [Ward] has been superb since he has arrived and he has added a calmness to a young side and that was what we were missing at times in the early stages of the season. He is enjoying his football and he has allowed us to be more street wise which has helped our creative and attacking players to get onto the ball.

Lewis [Clayton] is also playing well and the lads feel confident knowing he is behind them as a goalkeeper. He has got the lot and I know he will only get better the more he plays. He is learning every game and he sets himself high standards, which is a positive thing! He is a local lad I have known for years and I would like nothing more than to be a part of his development.”

Bishops Cleeve travel to local rivals Lydney Town on Tuesday night as they look to extend their winning run to 8 as they continue to climb the Hellenic League Premier table. Kick off at the Recreation Ground is at 19:45