CARL ADAMS admits he is fed up with the “hard luck stories” after Stratford Town’s push for a top ten place stuttered with successive home defeats.
The Town manager felt his side deserved better than going down 4-0 to promotion-chasing Kettering Town in dreadful conditions last weekend and then falling to a stunning late goal to lose 2-1 to Tiverton Town on Tuesday.
It leaves Stratford 15th in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier table, two points off 12th, as they head to Farnborough on Saturday before a testing run against promotion contenders Slough, Banbury United and King’s Lynn Town.
The two losses have dented a run which had boasted three wins from four fixtures but Adams believes his squad needs to keep aiming higher.
“I look at our results and I really think we should have done a lot better,” said Adams. “We’ve thrown away three points in some games and we deserved better in others.
“Kettering was never a 4-0 scoreline, it was a hard luck story from my point of view. We gave away a penalty and they scored two worldies.
“Then on Tuesday we played really well but came away with nothing. Their winner came when a free-kick hit our ball and bounced back and their player just leathered into the net.
“It’s tough at the minute. There have been a few hard luck stories. The performances have been there but we haven’t that bit of luck.
“We’ve got a tough run coming up against some of the league’s top teams in Slough, Banbury and King’s Lynn. On paper, they would be expected to beat us and then it looks like we’re on a bad run.
“Saying that, we’ve got the chance to bounce back, starting at Farnborough, and if we win the table is so tight we could jump up three or four places.
“I’ve said the challenge for us is to keep improving and it’s massively important for me and the players that we finish higher than we did last year. We were 14th last season and the target is to better that again.”
On Tuesday, top scorer Ben Stephens bagged his 20th goal of the season against Tiverton at the MoodChimp Stadium.
Town fell behind on two minutes through James Short’s close-range finish after Jordan Rogers hit the bar and they then squandered a chance to level in the 15th minute when Edwin Ahenkorah’s penalty was saved after Stephens had been fouled.
Attacking midfielder Stephens, who is expected to have another training session with Ipswich Town, earned Town’s reward early in the second period to level from James Fry’s pass but Levi Landricombe’s stunning finish grabbed the points for Tivvy ten minutes from time.
Playing in freezing conditions on Saturday, Town more than matched Kettering for long periods but the Poppies seized their chances. Brett Solkhon scored the opener with a 13th-minute penalty and second-half goals from Michael Richens, Mathew Stevens and Aaron O’Connor sealed the points.
Meanwhile, Town fear summer signing George Washbourne’s competitive debut will now have to wait until next season.
Washbourne, who hurt his knee in a pre-season friendly at Alvechurch, had been returning to match fitness with a few run-outs with Montpellier and Adams was excited to see him in action for Town.
However, the boss reported the former Hednesford, Sutton Coldfield and Rushall Olympic wide player suffered a repeat problem.
“I think that’s the end of his season,” said Adams. “He’s broken down and it’s probably best he just rests now and gets ready for pre-season.”