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Small targets will help to give Cambridge focus, says head coach Richie Williams

Kwaku Asiedu scored Cambridge's second try against Blackheath. Picture: Keith Heppell
Kwaku Asiedu scored Cambridge's second try against Blackheath. Picture: Keith Heppell

Richie Williams is confident that Cambridge’s change in fortunes at Blackheath can provide the self-belief to turn around their National League One campaign.

It was a superb second-half performance at Well Hall as Cambridge secured victory when defeat seemed on the cards as they trailed 22-3 at half time.

However, tries from Cameron Ruddock, Kwaku Asiedu and Mike Ayrton, and 12 points from Ben Penfold gave them a 27-22 win.

“It was very bizarre and a classic Cambridge game of two halves,” said head coach Williams.

“It could have been a lot more in the first half as well.

“We didn’t think we would be able to get ourselves back into the game but credit to the players, we didn’t panic, scored quite early and it gave us a bit of momentum.

“There have been odd occasions this season like Plymouth where it was the most controlled it’s been all season and then the second half was probably our worst 40 minutes.

“It’s good and frustrating at the same time as we have these performances in us. It is when we’re backed into the corner that we are producing our best performances at the moment.”

With things so tight in the National League One table, it seems as if any number of clubs could get sucked into the battle to avoid one of the three relegation places.

Williams and his coaching staff had split the remaining 10 matches into batches to set achievable goals, and the first block of fixtures was Blackheath, Caldy away this Saturday (February 9) and then Cinderford at home on February 16.

And something, even just a losing bonus point, was the initial aim at Blackheath.

“The players and coaches collectively have given ourselves a points target to hit in these fixtures,” said Williams.

“Whilst there are 10 games left, they can disappear quite quickly without anything happening.

“It’s given the players a focus in the
short term.

“It (the Blackheath win) has taken a bit of pressure off the players as in some ways our objective was to just get something out of the game.

“By doing it this way, maybe it has helped the group of players we have got.”

The victory over Blackheath, and also the manner in which it was achieved, will have other impacts as well given their approach and how they applied themselves, according to Williams.

“I hope that performance will make us buoyant and given us self-belief,” he said. “The players have a renewed level of self-belief.

“I don’t know what the magic formula is but the experience at Blackheath will shape us for the rest of the season.

“To go to Blackheath, where historically we’ve struggled to get four points, it was about the second half performance, the tries we scored and the control defensively.”

He added: “We have a group of players that know we’re in a pretty volatile position and if we don’t win then we could be back in it.

“If we get a win then we can take a bit of pressure off ourselves and relax in how we’re playing. If we can put in a performance like the second half at Blackheath then we have to believe we can beat Caldy.”

Caldy have been on a difficult run of form in recent months, having only won one of their last nine games.

They three places and three points below Cambridge in the table, and their scheduled match at Ampthill was postponed last Saturday.

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