DARREN BYFIELD believes a ‘positive attitude’ in the Stratford Town dressing room will provide the spark for a continuing improvement.
Sub Mike Taylor came off the bench to bag the equaliser in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Royston Town and manager Byfield highlighted the striker’s attitude and workrate as a sign of the commitment to the cause he wants to see throughout the squad.
He will hope to build on the performance this weekend when Town – with one win, one draw and one loss in South Premier Central so far – play two games in 48 hours. They meet Lowestoft Town at the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday before heading down the M40 on Monday for a fixture at Banbury United.
Byfield has stressed the need to be patient to blend a new-look side but was pleased with character shown at Royston, especially after the previous ‘wake-up call’ in losing to Stourbridge.
“In the end I have to be satisfied with a point,” said Byfield. “I was pleased with the way we played and I felt we could have won the game in the first half when we totally dominated them.
“Then we again had to show tremendous character and spirit after we went behind, but just as in the second half at Stourbridge we stuck at it and deservedly got our reward.
“All credit to Mike Taylor who had every reason to be upset at not starting but who has come on and got a typical goal with his strength and determination.
“I can’t emphasise enough that we are a developing team and, with the positive attitude we’ve got in the dressing room, we can only get better as we learn to play together.”
Town made four changes after the Stourbridge game for the trip to Royston, including a debut for striker Nabil Shariff, whose goalscoring pre-season had been halted by injury.
Fellow summer signing Bradley Maslen-Jones, pushed into midfield, showed his goalscoring talents to fire Town into the lead on 39 minutes, curling a delightful 25-yard into the net past keeper Will Appleyard.
It was 1-1 on 50 minutes when James Potton finished from close-range from Vance Bola’s low cross and five minutes later Royston took the lead when Chris Assombalonga collected Martell Powell’s pass to shoot past keeper Nathan Vaughan.
However, Byfield threw on two attacking subs in the shape of Taylor and Edwin Ahenkorah and they were rewarded with the equaliser eight minutes from time when Will Grocott provided a cross from the right and Taylor soared to power home a header.
TOWN Youth began their Midland Floodlit Youth League Premier Division South season with a 2-1 win at Evesham United.
A Town side, which included six 16-year-olds, took the lead through Tommy Harrington’s shot which proved too hot for the keeper to handle before Jack Ballinger slotted home Town’s second from a cross from fellow substitute Tom Carwardine early in the second half.