Budleigh Salterton manager speaks about the Braunton win
PUBLISHED: 14:13 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:13 30 October 2019
Budleigh manager Rick Withers was delighted with his team's third straight win as the Robins came from behind twice to defeat hosts Braunton 3-2, but he was also keen to keep a lid on expectations.
He said: "We played well and have begun to show we are a decent side, but it's early days still and, as pleased I am with progress it's so important that we keep our feet firmly on the ground and accept that there remains plenty to work on."
He continued: "We have a young team which is boosted by the presence of some experienced players now and things are coming together well. What I like most is how, in our two most recent games we have shown the ability to 'dig deep' to get the end result we wanted."
On the performance at Braunton, the Budleigh chief said: "When we got up there we warmed-up off the pitch and I championed the lads about the need for them to 'man up' and get on with it. We told them it was likely they'd face a battle and, if that was indeed to be the case, then they'd need to stand firm - and they did!"
He continued: "I thought it would be a tough game and it was certainly 'agricultural' at times and, when you have a predominantly young side, that sort of approach from an opposing team can be a problem as your team can get bullied. We did take a while to settle into the contest at Braunton, but once we found our feet it went well.
"One of the things that pleased me was how we again showed an ability to 'dig it out' in the closing stages and, whilst I do feel out game management is something we can improve on, we have begun to show we can 'fund a way' to see games out.
"It was again apparent at Braunton, in terms of our game management whereby the lads up top need to become more streetwise and look to buy us time at the back by holding the ball up. Those latter stages of games are vital in terms of the team defending from the top and, when games are as tight as the one was at Braunton, a huge part of the 'defending from the top' logic comes from the strikers being able to keep the ball at their end of the pitch and not allow it to keep coming back at us."
On the extra-ordinary goal-line clearance by Darren Everest at Braunton - the long-serving club stalwart somehow prevented a goal with some extraordinary acrobatics, the Budleigh boss said: "I honestly don't know how he did that. One minute he was horizontal and facing his own goal and the next, well, the ball was over the bar and we trooped off at the break all square instead of being 2-1 down. It was quite something to see and speaks volumes for his character and honesty that he was prepared to put his body on the line to prevent a goal!"
The Budleigh boss also spoke of one of the goalscorers at Braunton - Ryan Daffin - of whom he said: "He [Daffin] is one of a number of youngsters making their way in the game with us. He's still very young and a wee bit green, but he's keen and he works his socks off in matches. He ran them [Braunton] ragged and if he keeps working and listening then he will be OK. It's our job to nurture youngsters like Ryan and we will do all we can to help him develop as a player. A willingness to learn and bags of enthusiasm at this level helps big time."
On Saturday (November 2), Budleigh entertain Newtown (3pm) and the Town boss says: "Having already faced St Martins and Exwick, who I regard as 'big hitters' in this division, we now face another team in that category.
"Newtown is, without doubt, our 'next big test'. One thing I do feel is that we have yet to see a full 90 minutes from the team. We are heading into November and have yet to see a full 90 minute show from the team. Yes, for one half against St Martins we were the 'real deal', and that's what I mean about 'work in progress', for I want to see a 90 minute show like the 45 minutes we put in against them [St Martins]. On Saturday, as long as the lads all put a shift in and we come off the park knowing we could have given no more then I shall be very content."