Nicky Adams on goals, assists and a massive game to comeWinger Nicky Adams made his first start in six games on Saturday – and what a start it was as he played a huge part in helping United to get a vital win following a pulsating second half come back.
“It was good to get the start but I looked at the clock with eleven minutes to go and I thought – oh my God I’m gone here,” he admitted. “I’ve had gels and everything since but it did feel really good to be out there.
“It was massive for us to get that result. It gives us a real chance now and, with the season we’ve had, the last couple of months have been really frustrating for us so this was good for everybody.
“It was another game where we were behind against the run of play and that has happened so many times. When they scored I thought at the time that it was a great header. I spoke to Lids [Gary Liddle] and it turns out he actually headed it off the guy, and that’s the way the luck goes sometimes.
“We came in at half time and the gaffer gave us a little bit, to be honest. However, he did it in a good way. He kept telling us it was there for us and we came out after the break with real purpose. We created good chances even before Jabo [Ibehre] scored and it was good to get the win.”
“The win is brilliant for the fans as well because it’s been so frustrating for them,” he added. “They’ve watched us put in good performances without getting results so it was nice to finish off the last home game in style. We’ve been playing good football for the last six or eight weeks so it was good to get the win to go with it.
“We didn’t want to be the team who everyone was talking about as being decent who hadn’t made the play-offs. We owe it to the fans to give it our all now. They’ll have gone home happy with what they saw and it was nice to see so many of them stay behind at the end.
“The atmosphere all season has been good and it sometimes feels like we’ve got 10,000 people here when they’re behind you. That’s what we want and we know they’ll be out in their numbers if we do get into the play-offs. The most important thing is doing the business on Saturday first.”
Part of doing the business this weekend included the delivery of the corner for Jabo Ibehre’s equaliser which sparked the turnaround which ultimately earned United the points.
“There was a huge amount of relief as soon as Jabo scored,” he admitted. “I’d taken a corner not long before it and I spotted that the keeper kept trying to come off his line. I spoke to Danny [Grainger] about it and I told him that if he kept coming I was going to try to get it over him, because chances were he’d miss it and flap at it. The goal came from that, which was good.
“To be fair their keeper was having an unbelievable day but you could see the goal was coming. He’d made a great save from Jamie Proctor and we’d just missed a couple of chances, and behind us I could here the gaffer saying ‘it’s coming, it’s coming.’ Once we got it we pushed on and it could have been three or four.”
The match winning strike which followed Ibehre’s volley will also be a goal of the season contender at Sunday’s awards dinner, and was the product of an excellent passage of play.
“It was a little one-two with Jamie Devitt and he set it up lovely for me,” he explained. “Sometimes you know as soon as it leaves your foot that it’s in. The atmosphere was ‘wow’ as soon as it hit the net. I think everyone deserved it and, like I say, it was me who scored it, but it’s a team effort.
“I would like to get more goals and it’s probably the one thing that frustrates me. Sometimes I think I should be more selfish but I do pride myself on the number of goals I set up. I want the strikers to score and do well - but every now and then I can whip one into the top bin.”
As for the celebration – well that really was exactly what it looked like.
“There’s a group of us who live in the same house when we stay up here and we always watch Stone Cold Steve Austin’s programme on a Friday night,” he explained. “I did the WWE sign with my fingers for the lads as part of that.
“It was the Pong Dance earlier in the season so this one seemed to fit as well. All the subs were up and celebrating because that’s what we’re all about, we want success for each other.
“The way I am, I’m hard work anyway, and that’s the same out on the pitch. Away from training and games I’m always messing about and we’ve got Ben Tomlinson here now and he’s worse than me, if that’s possible!
“The lads who live together in the house are a great group and we get on really well together when we stay up here. We’ve got me, Raynesy, Jason Kennedy, Tom Miller, James Bailey, Luke Joyce, Shaun Brisley, Mike Jones and Gary Liddle all in there together and we make sure we have a good laugh.
“On the flip side we’re also serious about what we have to do work wise and I set high standards for myself. As an example I was embarrassed by how I performed in training on Tuesday because it wasn’t good enough. I ended up booting the ball off the pitch in frustration and I was losing my head. Raynesy had a real go at me but it comes down to me setting high standards for myself and I don’t accept it when I’m not good enough.
“We take that onto the pitch and during the game I was arguing with Jabo, and he’s been unplayable these last five games. We’re arguing with each other because we want the best for each other, and when you see how he played in the second half he was an absolute monster. He’s been a real handful with Jamie Proctor these last few weeks and there aren’t many who want to play against them.”
“I’m not arrogant or anything like that, but I want to be the best I can be,” he told us. “That’s not me being selfish because I know if I’m doing what I’m good at I’ll be helping my team. I always watch the top players and people who are top of their sport and I listen to their interviews because I know hey have such high standards. You have to aspire to that and you have to want to be the best you can be.
“You can look at Ronaldo, Messi, Conor McGregor, Anthony Joshua – they all mess about and have a laugh and you can even think some of them clown around on camera. As soon as there’s a job to do they know what’s needed and I love all that. I’m obviously not on their level but I want to be the best I can be at my own level.”
Next up for the Blues is the trip to Exeter with the knowledge that three points would secure a place in the end-of-season play-offs.
“It’s back in our hands now and that’s good,” he commented. “Exeter are a very good side and the game up here against them was brilliant to watch. Both teams went at it and we nicked it on the day.
“We know what we’ve got to do and we’ll go down there full of confidence. It’s been a great season so far and it isn’t over yet. If we win next week we’re in with a really good chance because we’ll be hitting form at the right time.
“Every team involved is a good team in their own right but we don’t fear anyone. There’s great character in the dressing room and we didn’t want to throw the chance of giving ourselves a chance away. We go there knowing what we’ve got to do and it’s all set up for a massive last day.”