First-team captain Conor Tinnion says the friendly win over Penrith and commemoration of his 300th Reds appearance will be a day he looks back on fondly.
‘Tinners’ was presented with a special shirt before kick-off by his Borough Park bosses past and present; Dave ‘Dabba’ Hewson and Danny Grainger.
The skipper played the second half of the friendly affair, organised to keep both sides in shape during their respective seasons’ suspensions.
Reuben Jerome scored twice prior to former Reds striker Max Brown’s reply to earn the 2-1 win, but Tinnion wasn’t too impressed by his team’s performance speaking post-match.
“It’s difficult how much to read into it and what have you but we can’t kid ourselves, we were very, very poor,” he admitted.
“Luckily, there wasn’t anything riding on it today but if that was next Saturday, we would have real problems – mainly, the intensity.
“It was a wake-up call and the lads know that.
“No one’s under any illustrious but it wasn’t good enough by any means.”
Friendlies can be tedious tasks at times, especially mid-season with uncertainty surrounding the upcoming schedule, but Tinnion affirmed that commitment to the cause still neede to be shown.
“There is the end of goal of getting sharp and fit with friendlies, but for me, personally, I always take it as trying to motivate myself by thinking: ‘I don’t want anyone else thinking the man I’m up against is a better player than me.’
“I don’t care what’s at stake, you should always have that competitive instinct.
“Penrith aren’t a bad team but we didn’t do ourselves justice and I don’t really buy into that friendly excuse.”
Onto his milestone and Tinners was ‘proud’ to receive recognition for his services and expressed his surprise when reflecting of reaching 300 appearances as a Red.
“I didn’t even realise until Steve Durham told me,” he revealed.
“Personally, I’m proud to have played that many games and be in the team for that length of time.
“I remember looking at people like Kyle May (who played for Penrith in the game) and Gaz Rowntree when I was younger, and you think you’ll never get there.
“I’m still nowhere near, don’t get me wrong but before you know it, you’re 29 and one of the older ones!”
Hewson’s return to Borough Park was met with smiles by many on the day and it added to the special occasion for unknowing skipper.
Tinnion told us: “It was a really nice touch to have Dabba there.
“He’s played a really big role in my career, as has Danny over the last year or so which made it extra sweet!”
“So it was a good day; one I’ll look back on fondly even though I’m still a little bit fuming about the performance to be honest.”
The model player as ever, Tinnion took a few laps of the Borough Park pitch after full-time to get some extra work into his legs.
After struggling with an injury earlier this season, the 29-year-old discussed how fit and ready the whole Reds squad are following an ever-growing injury list before the second national lockdown.
“I feel fit and I think the lads are, too,” explained Tinnion.
“I said to Danny after Tuesday, the lads have been looking after themselves well over the lockdown.
“You could see that by the fact we were still running over the top of Nantwich at the end even though we didn’t get the result,” which needed 3-1 in Cheshire on Tuesday.
We currently don’t know what we’ll be doing before Christmas in terms of matches, but the captain made it clear what’s required in order to prepare for whatever comes next.
“If we restart Saturday, great, but if it’s Boxing Day, so be it.
“I think we have to train on Tuesday with the mindset that it’s happening on Saturday and – I don’t mean any disrespect to the league – but experience tells us they will make a decision very quickly.
“Mentally, we need to be ready.”
Watch manager Grainger give his thoughts post-match on our YouTube channel here.
We’ll be keeping you up-to-date whatever happens this week via our website and social media platforms.