STUDLEY manager Keith Draper hailed his side’s character and said Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at home to Heath Hayes felt like a victory after the Bees salvaged a late share of the spoils.
The point was not enough to lift Studley out of the bottom two but they did close to within two points of the three sides above them, two of whom they have a game in hand on.
With trips to Bolehall Swifts and lowly Pelsall Villa awaiting on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, Draper has targeted a minimum four-point return, and believes his side are more than capable of achieving the aim having lost just once in their last seven fixtures.
“We put in a really good performance in the first half on Tuesday against a strong and streetwise Heath Hayes side, who were very compact and disciplined under their new manager,” said Draper.
“We deservedly led through Aaron Westwood’s goal and perhaps should have gone 2-0 up, but we got pegged back to 1-1 at half time.
“In the second half they put us under more pressure and forced Brad Carter into a couple of good saves, but we had chances of our own too.
“Unfortunately Brad’s then had a collision with our centre half late on and it’s left Brad dazed, leaving Heath Hayes with a tap-in to take the lead with a couple of minutes remaining.
“Brad couldn’t continue, Matt Powell has had to go in goal and I’m thinking I can’t believe we’re going to lose this game.
“However, we’ve gone straight up the other end and Danny Ludlow has put an absolute peach of a cross on to Josh Westwood’s head. He’s headed it against the inside of the foot of the post and the ball has spun back out, but thankfully the assistant referee was brilliantly positioned and he’s said the ball had crossed the line.
“A point was the least we deserved and it felt like a win afterwards. The lads were buoyant in the dressing room.
“I can’t believe we’re still in the relegation zone after taking 13 points from the last six league matches but the lads are performing brilliantly.
“We’ve got two games coming up now which we want six points from, minimum four. We do have to play Hinckley and Bromsgrove Sporting in our final nine matches but those games aside we feel as though it’s a pretty decent run-in for us.”
Draper has been boosted by the news Alvechurch have allowed Carter to remain on loan at the Beehive for the remainder of the campaign, whilst Bolehall attacker Chris Cowley has agreed to switch to Studley.
“Having those pair on board until at least the end of the season is a big boost for us,” added Draper. “Brad’s been brilliant and Chris is a very good player capable of playing No 10 or either side, so he gives us more options.
“We’ve also got Jack Moss back from injury so we look in good shape. With our incentives in the league and a cup final and semi-final to look forward to, we’ve got everything to play for.”