Neilson urges Old Streets to keep the faith in relegation battle

London Two North East: Basildon 46 Old Streetonians 0

Old Streetonians’ assistant first-team coach Mike Neilson believes the club must keep the faith in their battle to avoid relegation in London Two North East.

The Shoreditch-based side travelled to second-placed Basildon at the weekend, but returned back to east London on the back of a heavy defeat.

And Neilson revealed that the team will look to forget the loss as quickly as possible and move on and focus on their remaining four games.

“I think that we need to just resign that loss to the archives,” he said.

“We came up against a very good and very organised Basildon side on Saturday and to be honest, we were no match for them.

“As a team, they did the simple things excellently and their backs and their forwards interplayed very well.”

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However, Neilson thought that Old Streets did play well in parts, but just couldn’t convert their pressure into points.

“Don’t get me wrong, we made them work hard for the win,” he said.

“It would have been nice to have scored some points for the effort that we put in.

“I thought that our forwards actually did really well in terms of disrupting Basildon’s play when things got physical at the breakdown.

“We even had a 10-minute spell at the end when we could and should have scored, but the home side defended brilliantly.

“I think it is fair to say that Basildon had the upper hand throughout the game.

“There were times when we would march up field with our backline, but then collapse and get turned over and then Basildon would run in easy tries.

“We didn’t show what we can do and I think that we were more individualistic rather than playing as a team.”

Neilson also revealed that he heard rumours that the home side had a few key first-team players missing.

“I did hear that Basildon were not at full strength,” he said.

“And if that is the case then it is a scary thought.

“Earlier in the season when we played them we scored some points and made a game of it, but they were a cut above on Saturday.”

What made things worse for Old Streets at the weekend was the fact that third-from bottom Canvey Island managed to pick up a bonus point, for scoring four tries in their defeat at Ipswich, who Neilson’s men face this weekend.

“It wasn’t a great result to see Canvey pick up another bonus point, we weren’t expecting that,” he said.

“But we can only affect the things that happen on our pitch and with our team, not what other sides do.

“The gap between us is now two points and we need to get either a win or some bonus points to close that.

“It has now come to the point in the season when we need to go all out and leave nothing in reserve.

“I definitely think that we have enough quality in the team to stay up and so do a lot of people that I talk to.

“Even the Basildon coach on Saturday said he was puzzled at why we were second-from bottom in the table, and he was very complimentary about us, which he didn’t have to be.

“He said that Basildon had played teams that were a lot worse than us, but that means nothing to us unless we are picking up points.”

This weekend, Old Streets return to the Hackney Marshes to entertain Ipswich, and Neilson made no secret of how the Shoreditch-based side will approach the game.

“It is a long journey down the A12 for Ipswich, so the first 20 minutes will be crucial,” he said.

“Ipswich will take some time to get going, so it is imperative that we start the match with a bang.

“We will have that opening spell to control and put as many points on as we can.

“We need to explode from the first whistle.”

Despite Old Streets’ precarious league position, Neilson added that the morale in the camp remains upbeat.

“The lads are confident that they can stay up,” he said. “But talk is now cheap and it is time for actions.

“The team need to play together as a team and only then will we stand a chance of staying in this division. We want to be playing London Two rugby next season.”

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