Bastock ready to fight to the end
BLUE Square South Player of the Month Paul Bastock believes the battle for survival will go down to the final day of the campaign. Bastock took the award for March after helping to instigate a spectacular run of form with five wins from six games
BLUE Square South Player of the Month Paul Bastock believes the battle for survival will go down to the final day of the campaign.
Bastock took the award for March after helping to instigate a spectacular run of form with five wins from six games in the month and only two goals conceded. The former Boston United legend celebrated at Welling United with a fifth clean sheet in seven games since returning from Rushden & Diamonds. Bastock said: "It is a good honour. I was surprised to get it because I haven't had a great deal to. It is a team effort and I think I have come in as the final bit of the jigsaw. I have given a few earholes a bashing. I am pleased for Steve Castle as well. His Manager of the Month award is fully deserved.
"The run of form shows that they weren't too far wrong. It is all about confidence and a winning mentality. You can get in a winning habit and the players have done extremely well. It is testament to Steve Castle. I know for a fact he has been working them hard."
City have climbed to 17th in the Blue Square South and they now have their destiny in their own hands with Maidenhead United, Weston-super-Mare, Bognor Regis Town and Dorchester Town below them and Sutton United already relegated. Bastock has been delighted with his return to the club. He said: "I am very happy. Being a goalkeeper isn't about saving shots. It is about organisation and the boys are listening well. They are proud to try and keep a clean sheet which is the pleasing aspect for me. We have got two towers in the middle of the defence with Ryan Frater and Ben Martin and it oozes confidence as a goalkeeper when you look at your two big lurches gobbling everything up.
"We are fortunate to have two rocks at the back while James Quilter came in and did really well at Welling. Scott Cousins has been doing really well and James Fisher is a very accomplished young man."
"Weston lost again (at home to Eastbourne Borough on Monday) so that is pleasing. They have a difficult run in. It is in our hands now, which five weeks ago it definitely wasn't. I think it will probably go to the last game of the season myself. If we get a good result on Saturday and a good result at Maidenhead it could be done and dusted by then."
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The St Albans City Supporters Club Player of the Month for March went to gargantuan defender Ben Martin and Bastock believes losing him to injury in the Conference last season was a giant blow. He said: "I think if Ben Martin had been fit last year we would have stayed up. He is awesome. We got through a lot of centre backs last season and if we had had a tough tackling no nonsense midfield player in there to clear up the bits and Ben Martin I think we would have been sitting in mid-table. We were two players short.
"Ben is very deceptive with his pace and it is testament to him. A lot of people would have broken by now but he has a great family behind him and a great club to encourage him. He is a strong character. I do hope to see the lad progress but not for a year or so because it would be good for St Albans if he stays here."
The experienced former Boston United goalkeeper feels the team has come together superbly as a unit and has been impressed by the contributions of the midfielders and strikers. Bastock said: "Lee Clarke has done unbelievably well. Fair play to him. He hasn't had the best of seasons but he is good to be around and it is a good dressing room to be in. Luke Thurlbourne is an older man in a young man's body. He is a little Yorkshire terrier. He doesn't let go of your ankles.
"Sunday has come on leaps and bounds and Paul Hakim is always a danger because of his pace. He is a good finisher as well. Paul Bruce has been magnificent for us and Hassan Sulaiman is a good player with a lot of pace. He puts some good balls across."
"We fear nobody at the moment. Bognor are in a predicament as well and at this stage of the season nerves set in. As long as we keep it tight at the back the players can express themselves. Hopefully we can grind them down and take a result.