Pontefract Collieries manager Rouse aims to keep players focused

Manager Craig Rouse was delighted with the way his players stood up to a big physical test against the Pitching In Northern Premier League East leaders Liversedge and wants them to keep the same attitude for more tests ahead.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 9:00 am
Pontefract Collieries defender Spencer Clarke sticks close to Liversedge danger man Gavin Allott. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald

Colls came away with a hard earned point and gave as good as they got for much of the big derby played in front of one of Liversedge’s biggest ever crowds.

Rouse thought they were good value for the draw against a team he described as the best on the division.

He said: “It was a really good battling performance.

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“When you come here you know what you are going to get, they are obviously the best side in the league at this moment in time.

“They pose a big physical threat, they are big across the pitch, they are direct and they are a really good side. You have to stand up to that and I think our boys have done that.

“We’re delighted to come away with a point.

“At half-time we thought we’d stifled them and we came out to try and put it on them a little bit, start moving the ball wide and get into good areas. But it’s a sucker punch (when Liversedge scored).

“It takes a lot of character and the game can get away from you in those periods, but we stayed in the game and continued to come forward. We got the set piece, a great header from Shep (Jack Shepherd) and I’m obviously delighted for Callum (Brook) to get his first goal at this level.”

PICTURE SPECIAL: Honours end even in derby between Liversedge and Pontefract CollieriesRouse continued: “It’s a game four or five weeks ago that we lose. It takes a lot of character to come back, it takes a lot of sticking together, a lot of desire and we’ve got that in abundance.

“I’m delighted for Callum. He has had to be patient. We told him when he first came to the club at his age that it’s a learning curve playing at this level and he would perhaps make 15 to 20 starts.

“He’s still on course to do that and to come on and play a different role in midfield and get himself on the end of one all makes it worthwhile for him.”

Ponte are without a game this weekend and are next in action at Bridlington Town on Saturday, January 15.

“We want to keep the momentum – three wins and a draw now in our last four. We want to keep pushing forward,” added Rouse.

“We’ve put ourselves in a better position when you look at the league table, but we’ve shown how fast it can change. We’ve got to make sure we stay focussed.

“We’ve got a free week and we’ll get the players in, keep working hard and move onto the next game to keep ticking them off.”