LES JONES has responded to Pershore Town’s growing injury nightmare by drafting in two young players from higher league clubs for Saturday’s derby trip to Littleton.
Jones said he was proud of how his players responded to the absence of half a dozen players ahead of their midweek FA Vase first qualifying round replay against Malvern Town but the injuries continued when skipper Shaun Griffiths and midfielder Dane Aldington had to be substituted with just 20 minutes played.
Malvern finally progressed 2-0 at the Community Stadium on Tuesday but Plums manager Jones has recruited defender James Unwin from Gloucester City and midfielder Dan Tustin from Evesham United. Unwin is only 17 but has already been part of Gloucester’s first team squad in their National North League fixtures, while 20-year-old Tustin has had a brief stint at Stourport Swifts.
“We already had four or five players who were missing on Tuesday and it just got worse. Ben Lane was going to come back in and then pulled up in the warm-up. Then after 20 minutes Dane had to come off with a knock he had been carrying and moments later Shaun had a clash of heads and ended up in hospital with concussion. Within 20 minutes, we had to make three changes,” said Jones.
“I was delighted with the response. The players who came in did extremely well – everybody stepped up to the plate.”
On Sunday, Jones’ Pershore had led his old club when Griffiths bundled home a corner from Umit Eminoglu on 14 minutes and they had further chances to have settled the tie.
But Malvern, having been reduced to ten men, levelled in injury time through Sam Hunt and the extra 30 minutes failed to provide a winner.
Tuesday’s replay was a close contest but the Hillsiders struck first when Harry Clark pounced two minutes before half-time. As Pershore pressed for a way back into the tie, Kyonn Evans finished with a curling effort for 2-0 on 81 minutes.
“On Sunday, we were extremely disappointed to concede an equaliser in the 91st minute, especially with the chances we created,” said Jones.
“On Tuesday it was another close game. That’s been the story of the season so far. In every game we’ve kept going and put teams under pressure but we’ve not taken those chances.”
Pershore will now have to add Griffiths, Lane, and Aldington to the absentees list which also includes Steve Webb, Matt Gwynne, Tom Harding and Eminoglu.
Littleton have enjoyed a positive start with two wins, one draw and one defeat so far in the league but their Vase campaign was halted last Friday night with a 3-2 defeat at Coventry side GNP Sports. Adam Garmson and Jack Pearlman netted for Littleton.
Pershore begin their Worcestershire Senior Cup campaign on Tuesday when they host Midland League Division One side Studley.