First-team manager Danny Grainger says he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the way his side played in yesterday’s 1-0 loss at Gainsborough Trinity.
Reds largely outplayed the NPL Premier Division outfit but Luke Lofts’ 42nd-minute goal was the difference at The Northolme in sunny Lincolnshire.
Grainger spoke post-match and gave his glowing assessment of his team’s performance, saying: “I’m really happy to be honest.
“I thought we played really well. Any issues caused were sort of down to ourselves and we knew they were a threat.
“They’re a good, strong, well-organised team who have a good manager and will do well in there division.
“We knew it was going to be a tough test so I’m absolutely delighted with how the boys applied themselves and how they went about their business.”
Having won the three previous games, you could see Grainger was hoping to gauge progress by this match.
As we approach the start of the long-awaited new season, he’s assessing the summer.
“This is pre-season now, no disrespect at all to Penrith, Carlisle City and Whitehaven,” he said.
“Those games were about getting the lads out on the pitch but these are out tests.
“We said it last season with Atherton, Barrow and Radcliffe, those were really beneficial and gave us the confidence to really kick on into the league.”
In those games, we impressed and even got some positive results, which the manager fairly claimed may well have happened yesterday, too.
“On another day here, we could’ve come away with a victory,” he said.
“I’m not too bothered in pre-season about the results, I’m more bothered about the application and what we’re trying to do.
“We’ve created a good few changes and on another day would’ve come away with a victory.”
Grainger was keen to praise Woodhouse’s men, reaffirming how crucial their quality test was for his own group.
“We’ve always said, it shouldn’t be a case of us turning up and walking over teams, we need to be tested and play on the back foot,” he explained.
“Today was a great test against a good, well-organised, energetic, hard-working team.
“We knew we were going to have to play really well to get a result out of it but again, I’m over the moon with how we played today.
“I thought we moved the ball well and we’re starting to crank up the gears now.”
Finally, and arguably most importantly, fans returned inside the Gainsborough Martin & Co. Arena.
They made an enjoyable atmosphere and amplified things for the game according to Grainger.
“It felt like a league game today,” he revealed.
“As I said to the boys, these are the team we want to be playing, who we should be playing.
“It was great; the fans were inside, there was a buzz about the ground, tackles and everything was going on – it felt like a proper match.”