Whitchurch Alport boss Luke Goddard hailed an almost perfect start to the season as his side ended August top of the table.
Alport picked up a win and a draw over the bank holiday weekend, meaning they finished the month with 13 points from a possible 15 – enough to leave them at the summit of the North West Counties League Division One table.
Having lost out in the play-offs last season, Goddard has set promotion as the No1 priority this term and his message to Alport's challengers was simple: “Bring it on!”
After his side followed up Saturday's 4-1 win at AFC Blackpool with a 0-0 draw against Abbey Hulton United on Monday, Goddard said: “August has gone now and we’ve banked more points than we had set as a target, which is really pleasing.
“There will be disappointments that come along from time to time and we have to cope with the pressures of being the big fish this year. Well, bring it on!
“I don’t mind that at all and I want us to be intimidating. I want teams to be frightened when they come here. I have heard with my own ears this season managers telling their sides that if they get beat four or five not to worry just as long as they are competitive.”
Goddard pulled no punches on Saturday, despite the fact his side ran out 4-1 winners at the Mechanics Ground where the crowd of 80 was swelled by 50 travelling supporters.
“I told the lads that that was painful to watch and it was,” he said. “We kept giving the ball away time and time again and I had to have a word with the team at half-time. I asked them how long of the game was left and once we’d determined 45 or maybe 50 minutes, we then made it clear that if we scored one goal during that time, and got the defensive side of the game right, then we would win the game.
“I never actually felt at any point that we would lose it, because I know we have a tendency to wear team down in the later stages of matches and they visibly tired when they went down to 10 men.”
Goddard added: “We should be apologising to our supporters because that wasn’t good enough, and it’s not acceptable here any more.”
More than 500 fans flocked to Yockings Park on Saturday hopeful of seeing Alport make it five from five. And although Alport dropped their first points of the season, the boss was upbeat about how his team had played.
“I thought we were excellent,” he said. “Every single player did what we asked them to do and there isn’t anyone who’s been here today that would say our lads didn’t put a shift in.
“We knew they’d set up for a draw and they hardly troubled us at all going forward.
“Yes, we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough and we weren’t as clinical as we normally are. But it’s 13 points from the first five matches.”
Goddard added: “We’re not arrogant, we’re not cocky, we’re confident. We want to win promotion.”
n Monday’s man of the match – voted by match sponsors, Brooklands Kitchens – was defender, Ryan Thomas.
n Alport are at home again on Saturday with Carlisle City the visitors for a 3pm kick-off. Match sponsors are Neil & Chris from Whitchurch Photography.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald