ECCLESHILL United boss Lee Elam could have never envisaged the nightmare 7-2 defeat that came at local rivals Albion Sports on August 23.

However, seeing off league leaders Knaresborough Town last Saturday was the response only he could have dreamt of.

First half strikes from Brice Ghussein and Alexander Laird helped to secure the 2-1 win, which was Eccleshill’s first in six games.

Elam, ahead of today’s derby fixture at home to Thackley, admitted that he’s hoping the victory against the table-toppers has changed his side’s fortunes.

He said: “Beating Knaresborough was very pleasing because we wanted a strong reaction from the defeat at Albion and we got exactly that.

“We brought in a couple of new players and tweaked it a little bit, so it worked a treat. I wanted more hard work, a bit more commitment to the game and we gave that so I can’t ask for anything more.

“As well as the effort that was put in, what impressed me was our attacking game because we created a number of good opportunities against a good team. The defensive side of things was also impressive because although we didn’t keep a clean sheet, their goal came from a fairly dubious penalty decision, which was out of our control.”

Elam added: “The victory has certainly brough a bit of confidence and belief back into the group. The lads were a bit down after the previous results and run of defeats. Of course, beating the team at the top of the league will bring confidence back into the group, while the win will tell the players that they have the quality to go out there and compete with some of the very best teams in the division.”

Whilst admitting that his players have regrown some confidence, likewise, Elam has had some belief reinstalled into him.

He said: “A win like that is good for everyone at the club. You get the lads into training and on a matchday, and there is a lot of youthful players within our setup, of course with some experienced heads. I was a bit concerned about whether some of the younger lads were ready, but I’ve stuck with them and although I made a couple of tweaks to the lineup after the Albion game, it has given me confidence knowing that I stood strong with my decision. It shows that we are on the right track.”

Ahead of this weekend’s derby fixture with Thackley, Elam confirmed that Eccleshill will be welcoming back two players to the squad.

He said: “We have no fresh injury concerns following the game last Saturday and we’re actually welcoming back a couple of the lads who’ve been out. We’ve got David Bayoh back from suspension and striker Jamal Stewart back with us this week. It means that we are back to full strength, so we can continue to push on and looking forward to the upcoming fixtures.”

Like Eccleshill recently were, Thackley are coming into this weekend’s fixture suffering having lost their last three matches in all competitions.

Despite that, Elam believes that recent form shouldn’t be looked into too much.

He said: “I won’t, and I know the players won’t be reading into the formbook of late. Thackley will be eager to bounce back from their winless run and we’re the team that will have to face them, so they’ll be hungry. It’s a derby too, so that always brings the added spice to the fixture.

“Thackley are a hard-working side, they’ve got some quality up top and they keep the ball well. We’ll need to match them accordingly to get anything out of this game.”

Elam has urged his players to leave no stones unturned this Saturday, especially after clawing some much-needed confidence back at home to Knaresborough last time out.

He said: “It’s important that we put in another strong performance because we don’t want to be losing again; that’s the key. If we can get a couple of early goals or strike late on then I’ll be happy, but a strong performance is what I’m mainly looking for."