Town boss Jamie Fullarton says his side’s 2-0 opening day win at Braintree will be great for confidence and belief.
A goal in each half by debutants Jonathan Edwards and Nathan Clarke sealed a deserved victory for The Shaymen, who outplayed their hosts on a baking-hot day in Essex.
“It could have been even better if we’d scored more goals and converted some of the chances we created, but overall, first game of the season against a newly-promoted team, away from home, a four-hour drive, to get a clean sheet, win by two goals and have the numbe of chances we did create, it’s reasonably satisfying,” said Fullarton.
“Whilst people reflect on pre-season, the points were on the table today, and individually and collectively the players showed a focus, an aggression in their approach.
“When I say aggression, it’s a mindset, an attitude. It’s not a physical action, it’s that front-foot approach.
“I think the players showed that, they showed an understanding of what the game-plan was and the advantage when you implement a game-plan and you get success and reward, it buys belief.
“For us as coaching staff, and for the players, so when we move forward and we’re looking to implement it, as long as we keep with that same attitude and application, then we’re looking to win every game we play.
“It was in difficult circumstances because you’ve got a team that’s got momentum having won promotion. We were fortunate to experience that, although I wasn’t here, and it’s exciting.
“Their approach was to throw everything at it, but great credit to our players who stood up to that, who matched that, and then as the game went on, showed what we are capable of.”
Fullarton praised his players after the game for their efforts in pre-season training and for carrying out their game-plan.
“Great credit to the players,” said Fullarton. “Us as staff are satellite navigation, they’re the drivers. And the work they’ve put in over the six weeks, it’s been blood, sweat and tears at times over a demanding and gruelling pre-season, which is similar to other clubs.
“But for them to go out on the pitch and show an assurance and belief in what we’re asking them to do in their implementation, resulting in opportunities to score goals and having a clean sheet, then it’s rewarding.
Fullarton said the win would be great for the confidence and belief of the fans and the players.
“As a manager you need to be a bit more analytical and balanced because there’s so may factors that affect results,” he added.
“We’re looking to have a winning mentality, which isn’t always reflected by the score, and we’re looking for reasons why or how we win the game to be able to replicate them come Tuesday.
“Yes it’s great but our mantra is to go and try to win every game, and if you don’t win it, it’s about how you react.
“You’ve got to stay balanced. It’s important we don’t take it out of context, good or bad. Whilst it’s great we’ve won three points away from home, when you’ve got that attitude where you’re trying to win every game, then there’s a bit of a ‘well yeah, that’s what we went there to do, we managed to do it’.
“It’s great to have a pat on the back, but the most important thing now is Tuesday.”
Fullarton said there were no new injuries picked up during the game.
Nine of the starting 11 also started against Boston in Town’s final pre-season game, but produced a completly different performance.
“There’s multiple reasons for that,” said Fullarton, “whether it’s a good or bad performance in pre-season, it’s about what happens on Tuesday now.
“Whilst we’re reflecting on today, we’ve already moved on. The players are focusing on their recovery in preparation indivudually, and we as staff are focusing on the game-plan ready for our first home game of the season against Barrow.”
The Town boss said he is still trying to strengthen his squad after the recent additions of Clarke, Edwards and Michael Duckworth, who all started at Braintree.
“It’s the duck scenario,” he said. “We are looking and working hard to add to the squad because we don’t want a 46 league game season, seven games in August, derailing or having a negative impact on what we’re trying to do at the club because of injuries and suspensions.
“We are still working hard to add to the squad.
Fullarton was tight-lipped on which positions he is looking to strengthen, but added: “We’re just looking to improve in every way we can. Obviously there are some key areas where we need more strength-in-depth. The fans know the team as well as we do, so we’re just looking for a bit more strength-in-depth so we can maintain the standard in the level of performance over the 46 league games.”