Sean Eardley’s Cofis went to Park Hall and secured an historic victory on Friday night, and we caught up with the manager who masterminded the feat over the weekend. Read on to find out more.
“It’s nothing more than three points, unfortunately at the end of the day. Yes, it’ll go down as a famous victory and rightly so in the circumstances, but it is no more than three points. A much-needed victory really for us, because we haven’t had a win for a while now.
“It has been a journey, and I would have absolutely taken it transpiring the way it has done. When you’ve got 19 players who will run through brick walls for you, it certainly makes the job easier for you.
“What we’ve changed perhaps from the earlier weeks is instead of talking about what we’ve done well and what we’ve not done well, we’ve turned our focus to other teams and their strengths and weaknesses and how we can work with them, which I think has really helped us.
“We’ve got a massive couple of weeks now, and wins like that one last week against TNS will mean nothing if we can’t back it up with results in the coming weeks. If we get another 1-0, I don’t care if it comes off someone’s backside, I’ll take it. We want results and we want to climb the table to achieve our goals.”
With nine of their 19 points this season coming away from home against TNS, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Cardiff Met, that isn’t bad going at all for the newly-promoted Canaries.
In truth, the victory away to the champions will perhaps be even more pleasing because it bookends a slightly disappointing run of results for the club by the standards they’ve set earlier in the season – although that was perhaps always to be expected – but a run of results is needed now if the Cofis are to push for the top six, but first Eardley opted to reflect on the experience of Friday night’s win.
“It’s certainly one of the best experiences I’ve had in coaching, no doubt about that, beating TNS at Park Hall. It’s up there with going to Europe with Llandudno really, to be honest, which I was very lucky to do – that was something I’ll never forget.
“We’re making really, really good progress, and we’ve got seven points from four fixtures against TNS and Connah’s Quay now – a lot of people wouldn’t have said we’d have got that return, but we’ve done it.
“When the lads are being honest with themselves though, we’ve proved that we can get results, that we can win tight games 1-0 against big sides – and you’d take those wins against anyone really! – and hopefully it will just instil the confidence the boys needs now to go on and build a run of results.”
The TNS victory was Caernarfon’s first in over six weeks, since the Cofis welcomed Llanelli to The Oval on September 22nd, as the club has undergone a somewhat frustrating run of results since then, with four draw games and two defeats to show for their efforts between then and Friday’s win.
Eardley points to how those six games have comprised some of the club’s biggest lessons, however, but he also expressed his pride with regards to how quickly his side has learnt from those experiences.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve learnt is not to be naïve. We’ve also learned just how ruthless the JDWPL really is. When I look at games like Aberystwyth away where we could have led, we had a goal disallowed, I look at that game and Druids away, Bala at home, we came in disappointed and a bit dejected after those games because we arguably should have won them all.
“We’ve been hit with the sucker-punch a few times an that has taught us a lot, I think. Even with Carmarthen last week, we’ve scored three goals down there and somehow not won the game – and all of their goals have come from things we’d identified as threats beforehand.
“We’ve learnt some harsh lessons and we’re learning them quickly. We’ve enjoyed this weekend, obviously, because Friday was memorable, but it’s back to the grindstone now because we have a lot of battles ahead of us and we’re fully focussed on coming out on top.”
Whatever internal or external expectations were of Caernarfon Town this season, however, it is perhaps fair to say that some of the feats they have accomplished wouldn’t have been on many lists of goals drawn up by fans or pundits before the season.
How then have the club’s goals changed, and how does Eardley manage the battle between what every club wants to achieve – which is a chance at European football, and what every newly-promoted club needs, which is survival?
“I’ve got an honest group of players, really, with a good balance of experience and youth really. We play an exciting brand of football and we have a lot of attacking talents in our squad, although it can’t be overlooked that we’ve managed seven clean sheets too, which isn’t bad going at all.
“The back five, the experienced heads, they take pride in their clean sheets, so first and foremost we like to be defensively sound, because we do have those players going forward that can produce a little bit of magic and win games for us on their own – we’re an exciting team going forward, and I love those moments when we’re on the front foot.
“We’ve got so many different personalities and ingredients in our team that when you bring it all together, you never really know what you’re going to get, because you can have a memorable victory against TNS one week or score three goals away from home the week prior and still lose the game.
“It’s just about remaining grounded for us, that’s the single most important thing. Getting carried away is maybe a job for the supporters, but they’re brilliant, they’re ambitious, they follow us everywhere. I want us to improve every week, I want us to continue to raise the bar, and we’ve done that within our group this season. Managing expectations is a challenge, but we’re enjoying and embracing it.”
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