A "huge point" left Ashford pleased with Witham's reaction
MANAGER Mark Ashford hailed the "huge point" that his Witham Town team earned in their Bostik League division north game against Maldon & Tiptree and the response of his players to some harsh words after their defeat at Brentwood Town.
On the back of a five-game losing run heading into the Easter weekend, Witham's bid for division north survival took a blow on Saturday when a dismal display saw them beaten 3-1 at Brentwood.
However, after a few home truths in the wake of that match, they turned things around against second-placed Maldon.Johnny Ashman's wonder free-kick put Witham head and although they were pegged back in the second half, they held on for an invaluable result and Ashford was quick to praise his players for their reaction.
"It was a huge point against Maldon," he said.
"Talk about a weekend that typified the highs and lows of football.
"I was at probably my lowest ebb of the season after the Brentwood game on Saturday as I saw that game as a great opportunity for us to get ourselves safe after how well we'd played against Dereham in the game before.
"Training had gone well and I expected the players to rise to the challenge but we just did not perform. "There were some, like Sam Owusu, Johnny Ashman, jack Lelliott and Pat Ahern who gave a good account of themselves, but there were others who hadn't prepared properly despite being warned about the warm weather conditions and there were some who appeared to not care enough about the club they were playing for."We had a bit of an inquest on the pitch after the game when some harsh words were spoken and people were called out.
"I was concious at the time that it may break the team, but I didn't feel I could let that game go and it needed something drastic said and done.
"All credit to the players as they did respond against Maldon.
"Some took it harshly and were struggling to deal with it but there was generally a good response.
"The players had some words among themselves afterwards as well and that was maybe overdue as it got things out of the system."Players who had had fingers pointed at them stood up against a Maldon and Tiptree side who are one of the best in the league.
"On paper it was a tough task for us and I thought our goal difference advantage over Romford could be wiped out if we played the same way as we had against Brentwood, but the players fought and scrapped for everything and it was good to see us get a deserved point.
"We were massive underdogs, but it was a massive performance in front of a good crowd and to put in that type of display in front of everyone was superb."
Witham now head to Basildon United for the final game of the season.
They are one place outside the relegation places and sit above Romford - the only side that can drag them into the drop zone - on goal difference.
By Simon Spurgeon