DARREN BYFIELD suggested he learned more from Stratford Town’s midweek defeat than opening-day victory.
Byfield enjoyed a winning start to his Town managerial reign with a 1-0 scoreline at home to St Neots Town in Saturday’s Evo-Stik South Premier Central game thanks to Will Grocott’s strike, but Stratford then fell to a 3-0 defeat at likely title contenders Stourbridge on Monday.
The Glassboys were 3-0 up inside 32 minutes through goals from Aaron Hayden, Leon Broadhurst and Greg Mills.
For Byfield, there were things to work on after both performances as well as positives to be taken into the trip to Royston Town on Saturday.
“For different reasons, we learned a lot from both games,” said Byfield, who replaced Carl Adams as boss in the summer. “To beat St Neots was a good way to open the season but then the result at Stourbridge gave us an idea of what is going to be required at this level.
“I was disappointed not to get any points but I was happy to learn a lot about my team. I probably learned more from the defeat than from Saturday’s win.
“The first half an hour at Stourbridge was a wake-up call and we got bullied. Other teams could easily have crumbled but the lads wouldn’t give up and they kept fighting. You can’t buy that sort of character. The players showed they are determined to play for each other and stick together. That was really pleasing.
“We’ve only been together for six weeks, with some of the players only being with us for two weeks, so it’s hard to hit the ground running.
“They were talking on TV about how it took Pep [Guardiola] a year to get this message across to his players and he’s got his players training every day of the week. It is going to take time.”
Byfield hopes to have another new face, Albanian utillity player Albi Skendi, available for his debut for the trip to Royston.
Skendi, who has played for Oxford City and Banbury United as well as in America, featured in pre-season but has been awaiting clearance to be involved.
“Albi can play as a central midfielder or central defender and he will definitely make a difference,” added Byfield.
Stratford were without goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan against Stourbridge through work commitments – James Behan making his debut – but he should be back in contention this weekend.
Striker Nabil Sharriff and midfielder Kevin Monteiro, who have yet to play this term, will face fitness tests before Byfield names the XI to face a Royston side which has drawn at Alvechurch and lost 5-2 at home, having led 2-0, to Leiston in their two games so far.
“I went to watch Royston on Tuesday against Leiston,” said Byfield. Royston could have been 4-1 ahead – they play some very good football and it will be another test for us.”
Meanwhile, Byfield praised the contribution of Andy Gallinagh after the defender joined Worcester City.
The experienced defender, who had signed for Stratford last summer from City, had played 42 games last term but has been unable to force his way into Byfield’s line-up after missing part of pre-season.
“Gally has been superb for us and he is top bloke. He wants to play regularly and I understand that so he goes with our best wishes,” said the boss.