Apr 12 2012 By Jon Batham
THE PRESSURE to reach the play-offs as a tribute to stricken goalkeeper Jonanthan North is having a negative effect on Wealdstone.
That’s the view of Ashlee Jones, the man called on to step into the boots of the regular Stones No 1 following his double leg break at Canvey late last month.
Gordon Bartlett’s men have adorned ‘Play-offs for Northy’ tee-shirts in the warm-up for every game since in support of the former Watford and Welsh youth international.
And while Jones understands the sentiment of doing it for your team-mate he senses it is adding extra burden to Stones’ attempts to play catch up in a bid to make the end of season knockout lottery.
He said: “The feeling behind ‘Play-offs for Northy is very strong and there is a lot of belief in the team, but I think sometimes we put more pressure on ourselves than we need to.
“I can see from the outside we are forcing certain things and trying too hard to make things happen. I think we need to be a bit more relaxed and just let things happen.”
The 24-year-old who once played a league game for Darlington admits North’s boots are big ones to fill, especially when you have spent the entire season warming the bench at Braintree waiting for a chance which never came.
There were a few fumbles against Harrow Borough last night (Wednesday) from which he was grateful to be bailed out and a few other communication breakdowns – a legacy he says not only of his lack of games, but also of a back four used to their own regular No 1.
He added: “It is hard coming into a team at the end of a season because the first few games they don’t know what I am like and I don’t know what they are like, so we are still learning about each other.
“I may do things Northy won’t do and vice versa so it is hard for the other players to adjust.
“When we came in at half-time I accepted it was my fault that Harrow got their tails up because of my few little mistakes.
“I can see at the moment that I’m not as sharp as I was, but that comes with games.”