PICKERING TOWN manager Mitch Cook returns to his old stamping ground tonight (Wednesday) expecting Bridlington to pose a stern test of his side’s new-found resilience.
The Pikes travel east to Queensgate for a Northern Counties East League premier division showdown (7.45pm) on the back of two straight victories after his players hit six of the best at lowly Armthorpe at the weekend.
Cook spent two years managing the coastal outfit, leading them to high league finishes, and he only narrowly failed to see his current side pick up a point when a late goal gave Bridlington a 2-1 win at the Recreation Ground last month.
He said he was looking forward to returning, but conceded he would only enjoy the experience if the result went Pickering’s way. “There’s a lot of knowledge on both sides and a lot of friends on both sides,” he said.
“Bridlington is never an easy place to go to and no one liked going there midweek in the two years I was at the club.
“We played really well at our place and, wherever you are, you relish going back to your former club.
“It’s a former club for a number of players on both sides. It’s all building up into a decent game and I am looking forward to winning. You never enjoy it when you go and get beat.”
Cook expects to field a full strength outfit, which should be full of confidence after comprehensively beating an Armthorpe side which had only enjoyed one win in their last 12 league games.
They were soon 2-0 up when Joe Danby put them ahead after 21 minutes and Josh Greening doubled the advantage with 35 on the clock. But Armthorpe came back strongly before the interval.
Adam Lee, on for the injured Anthony Ryan, reduced the deficit with a superb goal after 38 minutes and, barely two minutes later, Kieran Benson beat three Pikes players before drilling home a superb leveller.
Sam Calvert came on for Pickering at the start of the second half and he regained the lead for his side when netting nine minutes in. The game turned decisively shortly after as referee Paul Vardy sent off Armthorpe keeper William Biggs for comments he had made to the official. Berivan Kurde went into goal for the 10-man Armthorpe side.
From there, the Pikes ran out easy winners. Danby scored again on 72 minutes, Nathan Cook slotted home a header three minutes later and Greening’s second made it three goals in six minutes.
Pickering: Myers, Hawkes, Batchelor, Patterson (Coates 76), Hackworth (Micklethwaite 66), Cook, Danby (Calvert 45), Taylor, Danby, Tilsley, Greening. Sub not used: Henderson.
Cook added: “We deserved to win the game and we are looking forward to the next four. They had their goalkeeper sent off and it looked like none of their other players had any experience of going in goal.
“It can go one of two ways. You can either have a stormer or not and we went and got the goals we deserved. We’ve had a response from the players after the Tadcaster and Long Eaton defeats and we have to keep that going.
“We were expected to win at Armthorpe and we won against Liversedge. The next two may be a bit more difficult.”
Pickering follow tonight’s Bridlington game with their last home game of the campaign against Heanor Town on Saturday (3pm).