Winger Nicky Adams played his part in Saturday’s away victory at Crawley when he dropped a shoulder and bent a cross to the far post for Hallam Hope to nod home. We spoke to him about the game ahead of Monday morning’s training session.
“It was quite a high tempo game, wasn’t it!” he said. “I played down there for two years so I know what it can be like. It’s a hard place to go anyway, but then you get there and find that they’ve left the grass long, so we knew it was going to be tough.
“We also knew we were going to have to match them but, with no disrespect to them, I think we’re a better team and we had the better of the game. Jack Bonham had a good save to make in the first half but other than that we created more chances than they did.”
And one assist could have been two had it not been for a first half flag from what appears might just have been an overly eager official.
“I’ve looked through the footage with Lee Dykes and the first goal we scored wasn’t anywhere near offside,” he told us. “These things happen and you have to get on with it. Other than that, it was feisty, with tackles flying in everywhere, and I think they tried to stop us in our tracks a little bit.
“Everyone was superb on the day and we know we can score goals. That means if we can be solid at the back, as we have been in the last few games, we’ll always get an opportunity to score.
“The one thing that’s gone against us this year is that we’ve been punished every time we’ve made a mistake. In any league you find that whoever scores first is in the driving seat. That’s why we wanted to tighten up at the back and Clint [Hill] coming in has given us a big boost.
“He’s organised and he’s played at the top level, and he’s brought a calming influence to everyone who plays with him. I think we’re looking really solid at the moment and that’s a good place for us to be.”
“I think signing a player like Clint does give everyone a lift,” he added. “We’ve got some great lads at the back but a few of them are quite young. Especially the likes of James Brown, he’s come in and been great, but he’s got Clint next to him now which will only benefit him.
“You don’t play at the top level until you’re 38 if you’re not good at what you do. He organises us all really well and you can’t praise him highly enough. We’ve had two clean sheets in the last three games and even against Stevenage we were solid. He has to take a little bit of credit for that.”
Looking back at Friday’s nightmare journey, which saw the team bus snarled up in traffic for close to ten hours, he commented: “It was horrible for the lads who got on the coach in Carlisle. Some of them are like stiff tin men anyway. Take Danny Grainger as an example, I have no idea how he got through Saturday after that!
“To be fair to the gaffer he looked after us when we got there and I think all of the lads agreed that we weren’t going to try to make it an excuse. It’s an easy option to do that sometimes but the important thing was that we did it right on the day and we got the result.”
Speaking about the goal which won the game, which came from a dipping cross off his left boot, he said: “We moved it well in the build-up and that makes it hard to defend against. Teams struggle to get near us when we do that.
“It’s the same if teams do it against us because it is difficult to deal with. We worked it well and when Joycey sent the ball to me I just decided to do what I normally do. I always try to get it into a good area and it was a decent finish from Hallam.
“I’ve said before that the thing I take pride in most is creating chances for other people. It’s been a bit strange because I’m still doing the same things as I was last year. I’m getting past full backs and putting crosses in but I’ve had keepers making good saves or they’ve not been going in the back of the net.
“I think I talked about it last year because players don’t get assists if goals aren’t going into the net. When they do go in it’s great for me because that’s why I’m out there, to provide those openings.”
The other big incident of the game came after the popular midfielder had been substituted, when defender Tom Parkes was sent off deep into time added on.
“I said to Mike Jones after the game that he wouldn’t have been rag-dolled if I’d still been on the pitch to protect him!” he joked. “Actually it probably wouldn’t have happened at all if I was still out there because everybody is scared of me!
“On a serious note, it is disappointing for both of the lads. I didn’t really see what happened with Benno [Richie Bennett] because I’d just gone off the pitch. What I do know is that he isn’t like that. He’s a lovely lad and he isn’t malicious in any way. As a striker, sometimes your arms are out there when you jump, and I think that’s what happened to him.
“With the other incident where Parkesy [Tom Parkes] got sent off I didn’t think either of them should have been red cards. When you’re in a melee like that it’s a natural reaction to grab hold of each other and try and separate people.
“You’ve got to be sensible about it, but the referee has deemed that they were both having a go at each other. It’s disappointing for them, especially Parkesy, because he’s just played 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet. They’ll both be big misses for us.”
We'll have more from Nicky Adams later in the week, ahead of the visit of Exeter City.
Click HERE to watch an interview with Nicky Adams on iFollow United now.