Newent Town manager Ben Stringer says he believes his side are up for the challenge of a second season in the Hellenic League Division One West this term.
Stringer spoke to Severn Sport after his side’s 3-3 draw in a pre-season friendly with Hardwicke on Wednesday evening and he gave his side credit for coming back from 3-1 down win 15 minutes left to claim a hard fought draw.
“Wednesday night’s game was a different test for our lads coming up against some big experienced players in the Hardwicke set up, so I think we handled it quite well. Games like this will hold us in good stead for this coming season I’m sure.
I thought we played some good stuff at times but should have finished one or two more of our chances, after initially going a goal up. Hardwicke came back stronger and suddenly we found ourselves having to come back from 3-1 down which on the run of play I didn’t think we deserved.
But all the credit to my players though they didn’t panic, we kept playing the way we know how and we believed we could peg them back. It’s important to me that we keep the dressing room on a high and coming back to take a 3-3 draw with a couple of minutes to play did that for us so I was really pleased for the effort,” Stringer said.
Newent, who played with three at the back, took the lead when Luke Griffiths clipped a delightful ball forward from centre back and after holding off the defender and rounding the Hardwicke goalkeeper, Sanchez Grange calmly put the hosts in front.
A Rob Hine equaliser took the sides in level at the break, before a Jordan Dowdeswell double put Hardwicke 3-1 up with just over 15 minutes left on the clock.
Another clipped ball forward was chased down by Jordan Cooper this time, with the striker lashing the ball home from 18 yards.
Cooper was then tripped in the box by Hardwicke’s Kieran Squires with just five minutes left, got up and dusted himself off before dispatching the penalty.
After the game Stringer also told Severn Sport that his target for the season is to be as competitive as possible and believes his squad is just a couple of players short of being where they need to be ahead of the new season.
“I am pleased with a couple of the signings we have made and I think it’ll make us that little bit stronger this year. I still feel we need to have a bit more competition for places to be able to push for the league but we are heading in the right direction I think.
My target is to be competitive in each and every game we play this year and if we can double last years tally of 22 points that would put us around the top 4/5 teams I think and it will show me we have made marked improvements.
I believe in this team and last year hurt for a lot of them so to see the reaction so far tells me that they are up for the challenge,” Stringer added.
Newent Town host Hellenic League Premier Division side Fairford Town at Wildsmith Meadow in a pre-season friendly on Saturday 20th July