New Mills chairman Ray Coverley would have good reason to feel down about his club’s traumatic season but he certainly wasn’t showing any signs of negativity.
Before Tuesday night’s Evo-Stik NPL First Division North game at Witton Albion, the club had lost all twenty two of their league games this season, conceding eighty five goals in the process and scoring only thirteen.
In that run were a 7-0 home defeat to Prescot Cables and Saturday’s 5-0 loss to table toppers Warrington Town.
However in that defeat there were signs of progress, as the Millers held their opponents until half time, before five second half goals condemned them to another defeat.
Positives were taken from the game and on Tuesday night there was to be a major step forward.
The Millers gained their first point of the season, as two Darrhyl Mason goals helped them to a draw against Witton.
A step forward, albeit a small step forward but progress that should rightly be celebrated.
But it could have been even better.
The Millers actually led the game on two occasions but were pegged back by goals from Danny Andrews and Rob Hopley.
And Coverley was delighted to see the Millers finally gain a point, although admitted there was some disappointment that there hadn’t been more of a reward for their efforts.
“I was a bit disappointed because I thought we could have won the game. We were in front twice but they (Witton) are a good side but it isn’t a surprise for us.
When you look at our record, and it doesn’t make good reading, but we have been improving. We have young side and they are learning and developing.
We have been in front, like at Scarborough Athletic, we were a goal up in the nintieth minutes and lost the game.
But this has been coming and hopefully we can continue to improve”
Coverley was quick to point in the direction of manager Garry Brown for the principal reason for their improvement.
The former Wythenshawe Town manager joined the club in September, becoming their third manager of the campaign.
And Coverley paid tribute to the transformation Brown has overseen.
“It is down to the manager, he has persevered with these young lads and we shouldn’t forget they have come from a lower level of football.
They are good footballers but they aren’t used to the pace and fitness, not to mention the high standard of the league we are in.
They train hard, they listen and they are getting used to the league.
The manager is marverllously optimistic and thinks we can stay up and I will support him all of the way on that”
The Millers are on the road against on Saturday, with a trip to Bamber Bridge.
Coverley is realistic in his ambitions for the rest of the season, as herevealed the circumstances that Brown is working under, with players only receiving expenses for travelling to training and to matches.
“My optimistic target is to win six of our games and that would be great.
It wouldn’t save us from relegation but it would make things look a little better from my point of view as chairman.
It would show progress and that is what we want. We aren’t paying out wages, these lads get expenses but no more and the manager is doing a great job in tough circumstances”
Despite the tough season his club is going through, Coverley remains positive.
Although admitting that you “can’t hide from the record we have” this season, he is already looking to a future, with the club’s junior system and management team as principle reasons for his upbeat outlook.
“The future is bright for us and we knew we would struggle because of the circumstances we were in.
But we have a development side, an under 18s team and New Mills juniors, we have a great management team in place, so the future is always bright for us. We can’t hide from the record we have but you can’t dwell on that.
We look to the future, we look to be positive and I think better things will come”
Interview: Mark Carruthers
Images: James Lobley (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kickoffmphotography/sets/72157663930108126)