Sternberg surviving first-team pressure

For those that hadn’t already noticed the maturity in Saturday’s performance, 17-year-old Monroe Sternberg held the single point gained at Retford FC in higher regard than Ammers’ recent victory, for the manner in which it was maintained.

The defender was part of the system which refused to concede against Retford FC whilst a player short for 60 minutes, subtracting a further point from the gap between themselves and league safety.

That accumulated four points from six from Ammers’ previous two fixtures having beat Clay Cross Town the previous week.

“You’re already planning what you want to do with the ball before it gets to you,” explained Sternberg. He admitted to feeling the added pressure of league survival, graduating into the first-team environment but affirmed he’s being educated by it. “It forces you to make your decision quicker than if you had a lot of time. It means you’re not relaxed”.

Craig Maynard’s departure from a red-card after 30 minutes against Retford also saw Ammers vacate majority share of possession in a game they had made the stronger start, leading after 10 minutes from Marcel Chigumira’s penalty. It was to be cancelled out on 26 minutes.

Technique therefore held lesser importance for the defence, rather displaying an intelligence through efficiency.

“My focus is on where the ball is at the moment. If it’s on my side, I have to shift over quickly. Or if it’s the opposite, is there someone behind me making runs?” Sternberg explained. “It’s extremely important to be compact. If you leave too much space between defenders, it gives the opposition extra seconds to create chances”.

“The main focus of the team became stopping the opposition scoring, keeping one point, but there were times where we could get forward and attack the three points. There’s moments in games where we keep the ball well.

“I personally think it was the speed with the wingers to keep [Retford] away from our goal as much as possible. It gave us a minute or two to regroup our thoughts.

The next milestone in Sternberg’s career is clear.

“Staying up is a big confident boost for me & everyone in general. That we’ve managed to escape and then next can go and prove ourselves towards the top”.

Ammers return to DN22 to visit Retford United at Cannon Park this evening, Wednesday 21st February, 7:45pm kick-off, targeting further points in the NCEL Division One.