‘It’s massive’ – Widnes boss Michael Ellison talks up Ramsbottom United importance

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Widnes manager Michael Ellison was left pleased after his side come away with a point against in-form Clitheroe.

The Whites held Billy Priestley’s side to a goalless draw at the DCBL Stadium as they moved to within three points of moving away from the foot of the table.

They almost snatched the points in stoppage time through George Hassall but he couldn’t keep his effort down, blazing his strike over the bar.

Nonetheless, the Widnes boss was pleased with a point gained.

He told Off The Park: “It’s a point, a good point, against an in-form side. On their day, they can turn you over, Clitheroe, but I thought a point was the fair reflection of the game, it wasn’t a great game, there wasn’t many chances in the game but a really good point to back up a good win against Trafford.

“I didn’t really sleep last night because we had a glorious opportunity in the 94th minute to snatch all three, if you take that you turn a good night into a fantastic night. It just wasn’t to be, plenty of positives, you can see what we’re trying to do and lads are trying to implement what we’re asking them to do.

“We’re coming away from the game slightly disappointed but on reflection, we have to see it as a really good point, they’re a good side.”

Reflecting on the point and recent performances, there is a department that Ellison is looking to bolster. Already in recent weeks, he has welcomed Steven Irwin and Matty Rain from Warrington Rylands and Bootle, respectively.

He added: “I don’t think we really fired in front of goal since we come, that’s always going to be the last thing and it’s the hardest thing to do put the ball in the back of the net – anyone involved in football will tell you that.

“I think speaking to the lads, the City of Liverpool game was a disappointing one and we have to have that in the back of our minds when you don’t turn up, you don’t perform, you can lose games and lose them poorly.

“With the additions we’ve brought in, I think we look a different squad, different options, I just think that forward line is somewhere that we need to look at and improve, the defensive third and the middle third were really good and it just broke down when we got there.

“I can’t fault the lads for workrate and effort, they worked their stones off all off the pitch, every single person including the players off the bench I just think we lacked quality in the final third.”

There has been plenty of movement since the change of guard at the DCBL Stadium. After their miserable performance against City of Liverpool, Ellison is starting to see a positive shift following the performance against Clitheroe.

He continued: “I think that was clear yesterday, we changed the shape to combat Clitheroe’s threat. I think we limited them to very few opportunities, we were defensively sound, we had legs in the middle of the park, lads who wanted to get on the ball, we had some width in the two wingbacks.

“We’ve brought the average age down, something we wanted to do and now it’s that final third. It’ll take time, we’re working behind the scenes, recruitment is tough, tough for everyone not just us.

“I can see signs, I can see positive signs and the lads are trying to implement what we’re trying to do and that’s all you can ask for really.

“If lads are going out doing what you’re asking them to do, I think we have to take that as a positive, build on that, we’ve come up against two really good sides in the last two games in Trafford and Clitheroe and we’ve took four points, I think it’s a decent return.”

This weekend marks the second of their home double-header as they welcome fellow strugglers Ramsbottom United.

A win would see them leapfrog the Rams and move off the foot of the table and if the results go their way could see them rise above Colne.

“We want to win Saturday, we want to win every game but if we defend like that, keep our discipline like that, we won’t lose many games and that’s certainly a starting point,” he added.

“It’s massive, I don’t like saying must-win because I don’t think we’re at that stage but it’s one we want to win, if you speak to Lee he’d be saying the same thing.

“It’ll be tough, they’re two points ahead of us and if we win that takes us off the bottom which I think will be a mental thing, a positive thing for us.

“It’s a game we’re going to try and win, I said to our lads in the dressing room, if we work as hard as that and defend like that, there won’t be many teams who beat us but you’ve got to do that every single week and if we can add something up front, get that bit of quality, I think we can cause them problems.”

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