DERBY night plunder stashed away, “wing-walking” manager Jimmy Reid is hoping his Pickering Town charges now take off.
With very few punters giving the Pikes an earthly chance of winning at Northern Counties East League premier division high-fliers Tadcaster Albion, Reid’s raiders came back from Ings Lane with a 2-0 triumph.
On target for the visitors were Joel Ramm and the prolific Liam Salt, whose late strike took his tally for the season to 20.
But while those goals sealed the maximum haul, Reid pointed to an earlier breath-taking challenge from John Heads as the pivotal moment of the derby duel.
Said Reid: “The lad has tracked back between 50 and 60 yards and slid in to get the ball off the goal-line. That tackle was as vital as the goals by Rammy and Salty.
“And that’s what it has been all about these past few weeks – the fine margins.”
Reid admitted that before Heads’ intervention hosts Albion could have been two goals to the good, yet it was Pickering who plundered the bragging rights.
“We have recently beaten two of the premier division’s top teams in Scarborough Athletic and Worksop Parramore and then we lose our FA Vase tie last week from a winning position,” said the Pikes boss.
“Sometimes in this job you feel like a wing-walker on a plane. One minute you’re flying high, the next you’re heading for a crash.
“And that’s what I mean about the fine margins.”
Reid confessed he and his staff were “disappointed” at his men also raising their game for clashes against the better teams and then under-performing against lower lights.
“The lads are all good footballers. That’s a ‘gimme’ given how they all have a decent pedigree in the game,” said Reid.
“But while we can accept them being beaten by better players, we can’t accept that they are ever not fitter, or not organised, or don’t have the right attitude than their opponents.
“We showed a battling spirit against Tadcaster and you always need that. The season is now about the league and the North Riding Cup.
“We are not going to win the title, but we can have a big say in who does.”
Albion manager Paul Marshall was obviously downcast by his side’s derby dip, bemoaning how the crucial factor was not putting away chances.
Tadcaster could have edged into third place, albeit having played several games more than the leaders, but any improvement has to be backed by a more ruthless touch in front of goal.
Said Marshall: “Jake McCormick and Danny Graham both had good chances and then Chris Kamara goes round the ’keeper and looks set to score only for a Pickering player’s brilliant sliding challenge to clear the ball off the line.
“Our biggest problem is we can’t find a striker who can score regularly.”
Testing the Tadcaster strike-force tomorrow will be Nostell Miners Welfare, against whom they resume hostilities after beating them 2-0 at Ings Lane last week.
“It’s a back-to-back fixture, but we know they are going to be much tougher on their own ground,” said Marshall.
Elsewhere in the NCEL top flight, third-placed Scarborough Athletic host lowly Arnold Town.
However, Selby Town’s division one game against Askern Villa has been postponed after vandals damaged the boiler-house at their Flaxley Road base.