Abbey Hey manager Luke Gibson is hoping that his young squad will take confidence from their amazing comeback in a 3-3 draw against Evo-Stik League Premier side Altrincham in their Emirates FA Cup tie at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday.
Abbey were 3-0 down after 24 minutes, got back to 3-2 just before half-time, and then a Sam Freakes penalty 5 minutes from the end earned them a replay tonight at Moss Lane.
Gibson admits it wasn’t an outcome that looked possible after his side were under the cosh in the opening 25 minutes.
“The way started it looked like we could lose six or seven, but when we got the second goal I think that gave the lads the boost to think ‘hang on we can do something here’”, he said.
“We spoke at half-time about how we weren’t doing our job high up the pitch. The front line weren’t pressing in the right areas and we were exposed at the back.
“But we sorted it out a little bit and once we started pushing on to their centre backs we got into the game a little bit more.
“I can’t fault the lads for the way they came back, there are a lot of young players in that team and they did well.”
Now, with the replay at Moss Lane, Gibson says that everyone at the club will enjoy the game.
“It’s a massive result for us and for the club as well. For the lads to have the experience of going to somewhere like Moss Lane in an FA Cup tie is brilliant.
“We can go and enjoy it, and take the game to them a bit more. It’s a great game for the whole club, and for the guys on the committee who have been here for years, I’m made up for them as well. It will be fantastic to go there and it will be a great occasion for everyone.”
Gibson is also hoping that the confidence gained from the good comeback on Saturday will now translate into league points, as Abbey’s start to the season has been a bit inconsistent.
“You can pick apart certain games. At home to Widnes we weren’t at the races, but it’s been difficult because over the early games we were chopping and changing with injuries and people being away, and it was hard to get a settled side.
“We knew exactly where we wanted to strengthen in the summer, and we got Rhys Webb in from Cheadle, who was scoring for fun in the league below last season, and he’s been a big plus for us, along with Rob Swallow from New Mills and Sam Freakes coming from Hyde United.
“So, we have had these lads coming in which is a plus for us, and we now we have a settled back four back like we had for the first game at Irlam. They’ve had four games together now and that familiarity at the back, you can’t buy that.
“Keeping that solid base will give us half a chance, and the challenge now is to replicate the way we played in the second half against Altrincham.
“The lads need to be aware now of what they have achieved over that 90 minutes, and also why they have achieved it as well.
“They can do it, it’s just a case of making sure they are on it all the time”.