First trophy in the bag! Whitchurch Alport land Derek Stokes Trophy with 3-1 win

Reporter:

Martin Wild

THE FIRST trophy under the guidance of joint management team Luke Goddard and Carl Everall was won on Friday night at The Venue in Oswestry.

A hugely-depleted Alport squad had been invited to contest the Derek Stokes Trophy by hosts St Martin’s – and Whitchurch cantered to victory, coming from behind to win 3-1 on a damp night under the lights.

It capped off an arduous week for the club who contested three matches in just four days.

Sandwiched between the cup match were a couple of friendlies against Premier Division opposition.

Old adversaries City of Liverpool gave Alport a really stiff test on the Tuesday night at Yockings and less than 24 hours after the St Martin’s match, Hanley Town was the destination for a Whitchurch side not short of match fitness, with the season now just over a week away.

Alport fell to a late 3-2 defeat at Hanley but were unfortunate to do so – and the programme of pre-season games suggests the team are in good shape going into the last friendly of the season this coming Saturday.

Staffordshire Premier Division side Redgate Clayton provide the opposition at Yockings in a game that kicks off at the earlier-than-usual time of 1.30pm.

Co-boss Luke Goddard – deployed as an emergency striker during the first half of Friday’s game before dropping back to centre-half in the second 45 minutes – was really pleased with his team’s progress throughout a difficult pre-season.

“We’ve played six games now and we’ve been ultra-competitive in each one,” he said.

“It was always going to be a really big ask playing two games in such a short period but despite starting off slowly again at Hanley, we found enough belief to get back into the game and really they didn’t cause us too many problems in the second half.

“They were a good side – I think they finished ninth in the league last year – so it was important for us to see how we would compete against a team playing in a league higher than we are. We’re still experimenting, too, so I don’t even think we’ve played our first-choice 11 yet.

“No team has battered us and I genuinely believe if this had been a league game, we could have set ourselves up to come here and win.

“It was disappointing to concede two free-kicks which have resulted in goals and I think we’re making the sorts of mistakes we wouldn’t normally expect to make once the season starts.

“The lads are still being asked to play different shapes and formations and we’re looking at players in different positions than we might normally do, but that’s what pre-season is for.

“Next week I’ve told the lads to try to come out on the offensive and to to build a lead because the season is almost upon us and we don’t want to get into the habit to fight back from losing situations to try to get something out of matches.

“I know we’ll be ready for the FA Cup game a week on Saturday and we’ll have two more training sessions in midweek ahead of the Redgate clash at the weekend.”

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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