Brimscombe & Thrupp Manager Sam Prior has praised his side for producing a reaction as they edged past Tuffley Rovers 2-1, to advance into the final eight of the Hellenic League Challenge Cup.
An injury time winner from Jack Freeman, his second of the night, saw the Lilywhites move into the Quarter Final of the competition and Prior praised his side for reacting to their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Tuffley in December.
“We asked the lads for a reaction after being beaten and rightfully beaten, by Tuffley last time out and I think we showed that when we put our minds to it, we can create chances and look a good side,” said Prior.
“The pitch was freezing as the game was being played, so conditions meant it wasn’t conducive for much football and we wanted to try and turn the ball forwards as often as we could and I think we caused problems when we did.
In the end, two bits of quality won us the game from Jack [Freeman], but the whole team put in a good performance that was much needed for belief and team spirit,” Prior added.
Both sides went into the game ringing in the changes, and a freezing cold night never really enabled the game to be much of a spectacle – with Brimscombe having the better of the first half, whilst Tuffley came back into the contest in the second.
After Freeman’s opener, Brad Bevan forced home an equaliser and with the game destined for penalties, Freeman popped up in stoppage time to win the tie for Prior’s side, with the Brimscombe manager even having to bring himself on due to a knock to Jamie Bremner.
“Both sides were missing a few and for various reasons, we were missing four or five lads and it meant shuffling the pack and giving minutes to a few that hadn’t played much recently.
You know we’re missing a few when I’m having to lace up the boots and bring myself on for 10 minutes at the end!” Prior joked.
Brimscombe remain in both the Challenge Cup and Floodlit Cup going into the second half of the season and whilst they sit in 16th place in the Hellenic Premier table, Prior admits a cup run can be a positive during a period with a lot of football left to be played.
“I think it’s safe to say that we aren’t going to win the league this year, so a cup run will be good for us,” admitted Prior.
“It’s important we still put a lot of emphasis on every game we play, however. We’re disappointed with our current league position, but have the benefit of having 19 league games still to play.
That’s the most in the league, so we’ve got lots of football still to play, including two cup competitions,” Prior added.
Due to postponements, Tuesday night’s win was Brimscombe’s first game of 2024 and with curcial games against Longlevens, Pershore Town, Hereford Pegasus, Lydney Town and Hereford Lads Club to come during a busy January, Prior is calling on his side to build momentum and put together a strong start to the New Year.
“It’s been stop-start for us over Christmas and we’ve found it hard to gather any type of momentum in all honesty,” said Prior.
“We are a side that needs to be playing and the more we do, I’ve always felt the better we play. So to get a run of games in where we can get consistent and regular playing time into players, would hopefully mean us picking up more points and ultimately climbing the table towards where we want to be,” Prior added.
Brimscombe & Thrupp are back in action on Saturday, when they head to Longlevens for a crucial all-Gloucestershire fixture. Kick off at Saw Mills, 15:00