Midgley United boss Craig Gee has urged his Halifax AFL champions to “dig in” after derby foes Calder ‘76 inflicted a painful second defeat in seven months on his side.
Enigmatic Calder were 4-2 home winners in the Premier Division last Saturday and they have a chance to heap more misery on their rivals at Midgley’s ground in the Halifax FA Saturday Cup on Saturday.
Midgley are not used to losing. Calder ended their 39-game unbeaten league run with a 1-0 win in April and Gee’s men hadn’t tasted defeat again until last weekend.
However, they have drawn two of their five games this season to drop to fifth, five points behind pacesetters Hebden Royd Red Star.
Gee believes their season is at a key stage with the Calder return clash followed by a Challenge Cup date with Sowerby United seven days later.
Gee said: “We are not playing well and we’ve got to change things pretty quickly.
“We’ve got two cup games next and we’ve got two weeks to get it right.”
Gee is savouring the quick chance for his side to take revenge on Calder.
“It is ideal really - a chance to bounce back against team that has done us twice.
“ We have got to dig in. It is different situation to what we are used to.”
Calder, meanwhile, were delighted with their success.
Midfielder Simon Stansfield said: “We have played well for the last three games, even in the cup game we lost to Holmfield, but it was good to get three points.
“I think we deserved to win but it was a good derby game and close to the end,” he said.
Calder were helped to victories by excellent performances from Sam Taylor, James Megson, Ricky Topham and ‘keeper Warren Clayton.
Midgley looked the stronger side early on but Taylor gave Calder the lead on the break.
Gee’s men missed a chance to equalise when Clayton saved Andrew Butterworth’s penalty and it remained 1-0 until the hour mark when Tom Booth crossed from the right and Butterworth produced a smart finish with his left foot.
Super sub Jamie Casey restored Calder’s lead with his first touch but another replacement, James Balmforth, produced a flicked header to set up Calum Rodgers for 2-2 after 70 minutes.
Two goals in the last 10 minutes gave Calder victory. James Megson scored with a diving header at the near post from Gavin Fleming’s cross and with Midgley throwing everyone forward Casey tapped home his second.
Gee added: “I would not say the scoreline was fair but at the end of the day we didn’t play well enough.
“Calder are a good side all round. I’ve seen them twice in the last eight months and they have beaten us twice.
“I don’t know what has happened to them in the 20 games they have played in between.
Stansfield knows that Midgley will be determined to gain revenge this weekend but he believes Calder have a strong squad capable of producing more good results.
Stansfield is a doubt with a foot injury but striker Jonny Gibson should be available again and Calder will check on defender Scott Dawson, who has missed the last three games with a back injury.