MANAGER Keith Draper heaped praise on his Studley side after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Hinckley AFC ensured they were the only Midland League Division One outfit to remain unbeaten in league and cup during March.
The hard fought point against second placed Hinckley moved the Bees four points clear of the bottom two despite dropping a place to 17th and made it eight points from four league matches this month.
Studley, who have six league matches remaining, also reached the final of the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup in what was a hugely profitable March and Draper is hopeful four points from upcoming matches at Lichfield City on Saturday and at home to Uttoxeter Town on Tuesday will be enough to ensure the Bees beat the drop.
Indeed, the only disappointment for Draper was the reaction of Hinckley manager Carl Abbott to Saturday’s result.
“I read some comments from ‘Abbo’ which said we were negative and tried to spoil the game and that disappointed me somewhat,” said Draper.
“To be fair, they hit the woodwork four times and Brad Carter has made a couple of magnificent saves, but that’s part and parcel of the game.
“Hinckley are a good side and pass the ball quickly. They are second in the table for a reason – they create plenty of chances.
“However, we’ve stood up to them, were busy and got amongst them. We also had two shots cleared off the line in what was an excellent game.
“I think what’s happened is that Hinckley – and they probably aren’t the first to do this – have looked at the league table and thought we were going to be an easy touch.
“If that’s the case they will have had a shock because we are a far better side than our league position suggests. We are a good side now, in good form and confident of giving anyone in our division a game.”
In a thrilling game the Bees’ Gaz Evans saw a penalty saved before Danny Ludlow’s superb 30-yard chip put the hosts ahead, only for Hinckley’s former Redditch United man Javia Roberts to level eight minutes before the break.
The second half saw the visitors strike the woodwork twice, whilst at the other end Ron Adjei saw a shot cleared off the line before Evans was sent off ten minutes from time after receiving his second yellow card for dissent.
“It was a great game of football and a credit to this league,” added Draper. “Confidence is high in our camp and the fans appear to be delighted with what they’re seeing, both in terms of the attacking football and endeavour.”