Robinson all set for Concord as new season looms
Hungerford Town rounded off their eight-game pre-season campaign with successive 2-1 defeats against Eastleigh and Salisbury.
The Crusaders first fell to a 2-1 defeat at National League side Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium on Friday evening, but there were plenty of positives for Danny Robinson’s side.
Town made the worst possible start when Tristan Abrahams shot was deflected past Mark Scott in the Hungerford goal inside two minutes to give the hosts the lead.
Hungerford grew into the game and were rewarded before half time when Niko Muir held the ball up well, then laid it off to Joel Rollinson who bent the ball beyond Eastleigh’s Joe McDonnell and into the far corner.
It took an unfortunate Matt Berry-Hargreaves own goal just after the hour to separate the teams; the centre half misdirected his header after Corey Panther’s long ball was headed across goal.
Robinson’s side went in search of an equaliser but were unable to fashion any real clear-cut chances before the full-time whistle.
It was the third time the Crusaders have more than matched full-time opposition in this pre-season, having impressed in a 2-1 defeat against League One’s Oxford United and beaten National League side Maidenhead 3-1.
“I’m disappointed with the result but I’m delighted with the performance,” Robinson said.
“I thought by and large we were the better side throughout that game, that shows you how far we’ve come this pre-season.
“It’s been a process, it’s been tough, but I’m very, very happy with where we are.”
The following day, Saturday, a Hungerford side that included four trialists lost 2-1 to Southern Premier League South side Salisbury despite a first-half goal from Ben Allen.
The Crusaders kick off their National League South season at the weekend when they welcome Concord Rangers to Bulpit Lane.
“It’s very important that we get a good start,” Robinson, who is preparing for his third full season in charge, said.
“The two seasons I’ve been here we’ve always started off, touchwood, really well, which kick-started our seasons.
“Concord won’t be easy, we’ve done our homework and we know what we’ll be up against.
“The first game’s always a bit of an unknown, but what we do know is we need to get off to a good start.”
Hungerford go into this season as underdogs once again and are many people’s favourites for relegation, but Robinson is determined to prove them wrong.
He said: “We’ve been in this league for six years but people are still saying we’re favourites for relegation, look at the predictions people have come up with.
“I don’t pay any attention to it, neither do the lads, we’re a good side, we’ll use it as fuel and earn the right to be in this league.”
Concord will arrive at the Bulpit with ideas and ambitions of their own but Danny Robinson will be hoping his Hungerford side will be the ones to get off to a flying start.