Fairford Town manager Jody Bevan says he is delighted with his side after “passing the test with flying colours” by beating Lydney Town 1-0 in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Tuesday night.
Fairford took the game after Nick Stanley’s free kick following Sam Elliot’s dismissal for bringing down Charlie Bailey and Bevan praised his side for the result in their first competitive game in nearly 6 months.
“Absolutely delighted [with the result],” Bevan said. “We had a plan and we knew what to expect. We had to stand up to the threat Lydney possessed and remain patient and wait for our opportunity.
With the quality we possess we are confident of scoring in every game and that proved to be the case with a fantastic free kick from Nick Stanley. It wasn’t a vintage performance by no means and there is loads to work on but after 6 months off from competitive football I was delighted with the lads,” Bevan added.
Fairford and Lydney drew each other in both the FA Cup and FA Vase and Bevan admitted that whilst he expected a typical tough encounter with Tuesday’s hosts, he still found the game very stressful.
“When the draw was made I was happy that we were not travelling far like some of the other sides in the county, but also wary that it does not get much tougher than Lydney away at this stage.
I felt it was a 50/50 before the game and so I knew we had to have a plan and work accordingly. I had had them watched in pre-season and the information we got back was spot on.
We knew we’d be without Ross Langworthy ( suspension) and Callum Preece (injury) and had to shift our game plan to suit and maximise our strengths. I always thought the first game was crucial and so it proved. Obviously the sending off helped our cause but I do think we controlled the game well after that and limited Lydney to few chances. But whilst the game remained 1-0 it was pretty stressful for me on the sidelines!” Bevan admitted.
The win means that Fairford’s first league game of the season will be a trip to Holmer Green on Tuesday 15th September and Bevan says he is happy to get back to competitive football and believes his side are on the right track.
“There is no substitute for competitive football and that showed last night. We have had some pleasing performances in preseason but there is always that little bit more time you get on the ball in those games.
The first half last night was fast and two teams battling to get on top. The pleasing thing for me is that we have made several changes to the squad since the season ended and last night was the first real chance to see if we were still on the right track and I think we passed that test with flying colours and can look forward excitingly to the start of the league campaign,” said the former Gloucester City and Cirencester Town striker.
After their win on Tuesday night, Fairford know they will be playing Edgware Town in the Preliminary Round on Saturday 12th September and Bevan is thankful for coach Lee Randall who may be able to provide an inside on their London-based opposition.
“I know very little, is the simple answer,” Bevan said. “I’ve seen some highlights from their game against Ardley last night on Twitter so i’ll start from that. I’m just glad it’s a home tie for one.
We’ve got 10 days or so to prepare for that game and we are hosting Newent for a friendly on Saturday so that will be a great opportunity for the lads who didn’t get many minutes yesterday to continue their preparations.
We’ll do as much research as we can and in Lee Randall we have somebody who seems to know somebody at every club in the UK so we’ll use that to our advantage to try and give us the best possible chance of reaching the next round,” added Bevan.
Fairford Town host Edgware Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup at Cinder Lane on Saturday 12th September.