22nd Nov, 2017

Draper upbeat despite late setback

Liam Moakes 9th Nov, 2017

BOSS Keith Draper was delighted with the efforts of his Studley side despite seeing Atherstone Town snatch a last-gasp share of the spoils in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the Beehive.

The result extended the Bees’ unbeaten Midland League Division One run to 15 games and the table-toppers sit five points above second placed Walsall Wood, although the Black Country side have three games in hand.

After a goalless first half, Studley fell behind shortly after the restart through Alex Naughton’s goal but Gaz Evans soon had the Bees in front with two goals from set pieces as his glancing near post header from a corner restored parity before his far post finish from another set piece made it 2-1.

However, after Studley had been reduced to ten men when Eddie Wynne-Willson was harshly sent off for a second yellow card which Draper described as “never a booking”, the visitors rallied and intense late pressure was rewarded in the first minute of injury time when Alan Miller headed home.

Studley will bid to return to winning ways at a strong Leicester Road side on Saturday, before another away day on Tuesday when they visit Midland Premier outfit Stourport Swifts in the Worcester Royal Infirmary Cup.

Draper is sure his side will take the positives from Saturday’s exciting encounter against the fourth placed Adders, who also finished with ten men as Scott Goodby was sent off seconds before the final whistle following a melee in the centre circle.

“I thought we played pretty well on Saturday and without the red card, which was highly contentious as the second yellow was never a booking for that challenge, we would have won that game,” said Draper.

“It was an entertaining first half in which both sides had chances but in the second half we took command after falling behind and played some really good stuff.

“Atherstone are a strong side in every sense of the word but we had them on the ropes and looked likely to extend our lead until Eddie was sent off.

“We had to defend after the red card but we were pretty comfortable and they didn’t look like scoring until the final five minutes when they really put us under pressure.

“Overall though, four points from the last two matches is good. We deserved to beat Cadbury and nicked it at the death when it didn’t look like the goal was coming, whereas we weren’t as dominant against Atherstone and saw a win turn into a draw in the final moments.

“If the results had been reversed I’d have seen that as fair, so it’s the same difference really.”

Draper revealed he is extremely happy with the 20-man squad he is working with and his biggest dilemma is who to leave out of matchday squads. Three players who will miss out this weekend are winger Josh Westwood who has a knock, the suspended Wynne-Willson and Chris Cowley, who is in Australia for three weeks.

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