REDDITCH United boss Paul Davis believes scoring the first goal was crucial as his side built on the confidence from doing so to bag their first points of the season with a 2-0 home victory over St Ives Town on Saturday.
Goals in the opening quarter from Stefan Moore and debutant Liam Francis secured the three points and Davis, who made several changes from the 4-2 defeat to Barwell the previous midweek, was delighted with his side’s response after a tough opening week to the Evo-Stik South Premier Central campaign.
“I am very happy with the three points and clean sheet. We started the game well and were clinical and we also defended well, threw bodies in the front of the ball and restricted the opposition to few chances,” said the manager.
The Cambridgeshire visitors arrived at the TRICO Stadium having won their opening two matches without conceding but they met a much-improved Redditch outfit from the one which had shipped nine goals in their first two fixtures.
Davis added: “I always thought that, if we scored the first goal, then we would gain confidence and cause problems. While we lost both opening games, we showed an attacking threat in both, so I always thought scoring the first goal would settle us.
“We continued to play with intent, but we were organised at the back as well, so it was the perfect outcome for us.”
Heavy defeats in the opening games, along with injury concerns and players unavailable, forced Davis into making several personnel changes, including a debut for ex-Red Francis who managed to get himself on the scoresheet via a deflection from an effort by Shaquille Whittingham.
Davis said the depth of his squad has already been proven this season.
“We’ve got a good group here and I have confidence in them,” he added. “The first two fixtures were tough to take, but the players have worked hard in training and those who came into the side on Saturday justified their selection.
“We had several players missing – Tom Winters (hamstring), Will Davidson (groin) and Leam Howards (unavailable) – and now I have a hard task in selecting a team and squad for the next game.
“It’s a nice dilemma to have, though, because there is motivation and competition for players.”
One player who will definitely miss out is defender Tom Fishwick who was due to see a specialist today (Monday) after fracturing his cheekbone against Barwell.
Fishwick will be assessed to establish whether surgery is required. Once that decision has been made, a timeline regarding the player’s recovery will be established.
The Reds will train on Tuesday and Thursday in preparation for trips to Hitchin Town and local rivals Alvechurch on Saturday (3pm) and Bank Holiday Monday (3pm) respectively.
Davis revealed the players will be receiving a little treat after making a promise to them prior to kick-off on Saturday.
He said: “It’ll be great to go into this week’s training after recording our first win and clean sheet. We’ll work hard because we’ve now set a standard that I want us to improve on further and we have two tough games in three days coming up.
“However, we’ll have some fun as well – it’s important the players enjoy themselves – and my coaching staff and I will stick to our promise of delivering pizza after the players earned our first clean sheet of the season.
“Perhaps it’ll have to become the norm if we continue to win and register clean sheets!”