REDDITCH United boss Liam McDonald said there was much more to come from his new-look team after watching them take one point from their first two Southern League Premier Division matches of the season.
The Reds looked lively in the first half in Saturday’s opener at home to Cirencester Town but midfielder George Carline saw a weakly struck penalty saved in the 18th minute and the hosts faded after the break, eventually slipping to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a 74th minute goal from on loan Cheltenham Town midfielder Zack Kotwica.
However, despite not being at their fluent best, United bounced back on Tuesday to have the better of a hard fought game at much-fancied Kettering Town and they came away with a 0-0 draw – a result which McDonald said his side can take heart from.
“Myself and the lads were disappointed not to take more than one point from the two games, but on reflection it’s probably a fair outcome,” said the manager.
“We weren’t good enough in possession on Saturday and our game is based around that, so I don’t have any complaints.
“Jamey (Osborne) did well to win the penalty and if we’d scored that when we were on top then there was a very high chance we’d have gone on to win the game.
“Tuesday was much better. We dug in well against a side who many think could win promotion this season and we were solid defensively.
“We created more than they did and Troy Baker and Luke Shearer (who hit the bar in the eighth minute) were lively. Luke hasn’t scored yet but he’s looking a real threat and I have every faith the goals will come for him soon.”
McDonald added: “Our oldest player on Tuesday was 23 so for the team to stand up to a talented Kettering side and 600-plus fans on their backs and take something from the game was pleasing.
“We’ll have Daniel Dubidat back from suspension on Saturday (at Biggleswade Town) and he will bring us another dimension up front and also be a big boost to have around. He’s the club captain and has a big influence on the rest of the squad.
“We have a lot of new faces and we are not in full flow as yet, so it could be a case of us having to grind results out at the moment because it will take a couple of months for us to gel.
“However, we will be hard to beat when it clicks. The defence is solid and we will score plenty of goals, I really am sure of that.”
McDonald handed a full debut to right back Kyle Haynes on Tuesday following the defender’s switch from National North outfit Worcester City and McDonald said Haynes had hit the ground running.
“Kyle is a fantastic addition to our squad. He’s come from a higher level where he has proved his ability and, although only 23, has plenty of experience,” said McDonald.
On the goalkeeping front, McDonald confirmed former Alvechurch stopper Stuart Parsons – who also made his Reds bow at Kettering – would continue between the sticks on Saturday following his switch from Romulus.
“We had a blow with Bristol Rovers cancelling Kieran Preston’s season-long loan so it’s left us with a bit of a headache,” added McDonald.
“Raajan Gill was in goal for us against Cirencester and then Stuart came in and was excellent on Tuesday. It’s all been a bit hectic, but that’s football. I have faith in Stuart so we’ll see what develops.”
After Saturday’s trip to early pace-setters Biggleswade Town – who have scored nine goals in two games – the Reds tackle Hungerford Town at the Valley on Monday.