| - MANAGER'S COLUMN -
Previous columns can be found under the match report of the game to which they refer, while video interviews can be found here.
We're really pleased to get the result at Lincoln - I think the third goal flattered us a little, and I was a bit disappointed in the way we played at the start of the second half, as I felt we could have played better and passed the ball better, but having said that the lads have put in a fantastic week's shift for the football club and have come away with a very good result today.
We did well in the first half, with a terrific free kick from Dan Wishart and creating several other chances while restricting them to very few. The sending off, and way the crowd and their players were trying to get the referee to even things up I think spolied the game a little, and in the first 25 minutes of the second half they looked as though they had the extra man and we gave them momentum, but I thought we made good changes at the right time, and after the three changes we started passing the ball like we can, playing it through the lines, and thoroughly deserved to get the win. Having been disappointed with the early part of the second half, I had turned to Bairdy in the five or ten minutes before we scored again and said that I could only see one winner, but you've still got to get it, and the skipper came up from a great set piece delivery before a really well-fashioned goal for the third one.
Ryan Burge was out for a long time last season, and I thought he was excellent at Forest Green, but we had a game plan to go to Lincoln with a big back four, which is why we moved Kevin to left back and brought Simon in, because we knew everything would be played in to Rhead, so we effectively went with four centre backs. We felt we wanted the solid base to start, and that we could get Roarie Deacon in to pockets where he could hurt them with pace, so it was a question of looking at the game today, knowing that Ryan won't play a huge number of games on the trot, and we're trying to make sure that when he's fit and available we're playing him in the right games. I thought today was perfect, putting him on after about an hour and with Joe Morrell coming on as well the game changed, but great credit to the lads as well who'd put the shift in until that time.
I thought Max was very, very good bearing in mind he's had no pre-season and we asked him to go and play on his own up front for 70 minutes.The only reason Dan Fitchett didn't play was because he'd done that job in the two previous games and you can't play like that up on your own for three games in a week. There's always reasons behind the selections, but we've got a good squad of 21 or 22 players now, and you've only got to look at Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Craig Dundas and Louis John not getting a game, and Dan Spence and Craig McAllister doing their rehab at home, so we've got strength in depth, I think the lads have bought in to the idea that it's a 55-game season, and they won't cause us problems in terms of who's picked and who isn't.
I loved the support today, and I thought the fans were great on Tuesday as well. I'm sure they enjoyed it as well, and being in a modern stadium makes the acoustics better and it really helps - the lads mentioned again in the dressing room how they could hear them. It kept us going at times because there were difficult moments, and times when you had to manage the game well, with the referee and the crowd and a few of the things that were going on, but we've got results now against two of the teams who will be very close to being in that top five, if not winning it, so from our point of view it's been a very good week. When Ian and I were looking at the week we thought four points would be good, probably thinking we'd beat Solihull and get a point from one of the two away games, so we've gone about it the hard way but the first win as a National League manager means a lot to me, and I've thanked the players for that, and we've got to believe in ourselves to play a bit more at times because we're good enough.