‘You need to back these tough wins up’ – Bootle manager Steve McNulty makes Ramsbottom United demand after ‘great’ Macclesfield win

Ben Hodkinson goal Bootle vs Macclesfield

Bootle manager Steve McNulty spoke of his delight after stunning Northern Premier League West league leaders Macclesfield but has set out demands for the visit of Ramsbottom United.

Ben Hodkinson’s brace helped the Bucks come from behind to secure a famous win over Danny Whitaker’s side.

Joe Bunney first-half effort cannoned off the bar before bouncing over the line to hand the hosts the lead but McNulty’s side answered back with two goals from last season’s top goalscorer.

Hodkinson’s winner came in stoppage time after Andy Scarisbrick chased a clearance before firing across the face of goal for the 26-year-old to fire past Marcelo Pitaluga.

Reflecting on the game, the former Tranmere Rovers defender felt that only one side deserved to win it in the end and it was the visitors to Cheshire.

He told Off The Park: “It’s a great win, I thought first-half they were the better team and second-half, I thought only one team was going to win it.

“I thought we looked fitter than them, ran over them in midfield in the second-half and the keeper had to make a couple of saves, two great saves as well, I thought we rode our luck in the second-half but I thought only one team was going to win it.

“We were pressing them high and got the victory but I think that was the message at half-time, I thought first-half we showed them a bit too much respect. I was saying before the game, don’t show them too much respect, show them the respect they deserve but not too much, we got in at half-time, told them we were still in the game and we could go on and win the game – luckily enough, we did.”

He added: “I think so, yeah [the win was deserved]. Our ‘keeper made some great saves, kept us in the game but we were on the front foot, we were looking to press them high, win the ball back high.

“I hate people saying ‘we had a free-hit’, it wasn’t a free-hit, I was going there full of confidence, knowing we could compete, we’re a good bunch of lads, plenty of ability in the dressing room.

“If you can’t go there thinking you can win the game it’s pointless turning up, it’s 11 men against 11 men at the end of the day, the lads put a great shift in and got the three points.”

The win took the Bucks to within touching distance of the playoffs as they were separated from breaking into the top five by goal difference.

Ramsbottom United are visitors this weekend to the Berry Street Garage Stadium, they come in off the back of a win over Prescot Cables thanks to goals from Ben Halfacre and Billy Hasler-Cregg.

Following the high of Saturday, McNulty is adamant that they mustn’t get carried away.

“You can’t get too carried away, it’s a great victory for the club, going to Macclesfield and getting the win, it’s great for the lads,” he continued.

“I just don’t want them to get too carried away, it’s important we back it up on Saturday now. You look at the league table and it hasn’t settled down yet, everyone’s beating everyone and one win can leapfrog you four or five places so the league hasn’t settled down yet.

“After Christmas when the league has settled down, we can take more notice of it then.

“We want them to go out and play with confidence, with an arrogance, there’s a fine line between it but you can go play with an arrogance and a swagger, that’s what I want them to do,” he said on their approach ahead of this weekend.

“I want them to go express themselves, enjoy playing football, the victories will come then, we’re working on stuff, implementing stuff into the team slowly – we didn’t want to come in and batter them all at once – we’re getting our messages across and I think that’s showing.

“Even when I played, I’d never go anywhere and think ‘I’m going to sit back here’, their manager even said to me before kick-off ‘what are youse doing, playing five in midfield?’ And I was like no way, we’re going to have a go. It’s not in my nature to go and sit back.”

Following up their win in Cheshire last weekend is imperative for the Bucks as the 39-year-old eyes consistency.

“That was the message from Carl [Macauley], he made a great point, it’s pointless going to places like Macclesfield and taking the three points, tough away game, and not backing it up on the following Saturday at home,” he continued.

“It’s going to be another tough game but one which we should go in full of confidence, we’ll be looking to take the three points, you need to back these tough away wins up now.

“We’ve got to find a level of consistency, you can’t play well every week, we showed that against Dunston and was probably our poorest performance since I’ve been here but you can play poor and grind the points out.

“I know Dunston was in the cup but we’ve got to find a happy medium, you’re not going to play well every week but you’ve still got to find a way to get something out of the game, a point or a 1-0 late on.

“We just need to find that level of consistency, there’s plenty of ability in that dressing room, they’re not going to play well every week – I’m not stupid, I’ve been around football long enough. We need to find that level of consistency and we will do.”

[Featured Image: Will Griffiths]

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