PRATT: WE WILL RESPECT MARSHFIELD
After beating leaders Abertillery Bluebirds last week, AC Pontymister went to the summit of the Gwent County League, manager Ralph Pratt speaks on the league position and Saturday’s game against Marshfield.
A top vs bottom clash, considering the points difference between the two and how the season has panned out for both sides, some would assume that this is an automatic three points for Ponty but Ralph says Pontymister will be paying respect to Saturday’s opponents.
“We have been in this division since 2010 and have learned that there are no easy games. So we will prepare and treat Marshfield with the same respect as any other side. I’m sure they’ll want to have a real go at us, as we are top.”
The last time the two sides met they were 4-1 winners against Saturday’s opponents but Pratt wasn’t present at the game due to a holiday but says that the result show Marshfield don’t give up even when the game is done.
“I didn’t see the last game as I was on holiday, but I know they scored their goal as a consolation. It tells me they keep going no matter what the score is and we will have to be aware of that.
Marshfield are a different side at their place. It is a compact ground and they always give it a go. It’s getting to the time of season when the bottom teams generally start to fight to avoid relegation and some strange results occur. We know we’ll have to be on our game again to get a result.”
Last weeks win saw Ponty rise to the top of the table and means that they now have done the double over their promotion rivals.
“I thought we managed our game well in all aspects. It was one of our best performances this season, against a Bluebirds side that are looking good for promotion. Another clean sheet for the defence was the reward and I felt we worked the ball well when in possession.
To win both games against Bluebirds has gained us a lot of credit. But we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got a lot of games to play, some very tough games. We’re on a nine game winning run, but there are still many twists left in this season, I have no doubt.”
Ralph has put praise on his current squad, mentioning a selection headache before choosing a team for a match.
“Our success this season is based on our strength in depth. We have difficult selection problems every game, with options in nearly every position. This statement is supported by looking at the performances of our reserves, who also currently top their division.”
The Ponty boss has also praised the quality of the division this year, saying that is a great feeder division for Welsh League football.
“This is a very creditable Welsh League feeder division, demonstrated by the success of the recently promoted teams. This season was always going to be an even tougher one, what with 3 teams dropping down from the Welsh League. But we are well equipped to give it a go and a match for anyone when we play well. “
Ponty’s rise to the top of the table has seen them win eight games on the bounce but Pratt says the focus is on the next game.
“I hate clichés, but we must not look beyond the next game. If we get a result on Saturday we’ll maintain our position, if not there are four teams that can go above us. Things are still tight and we have more than a third of the season left. So we remain realistic and hopeful.”
With the way Pontymister have been performing this season, Pontymister will be look to be firing on all cylinders come Saturday’s game.