DARREN Byfield says it was important for his Stratford Town side to make a winning start as they claimed a 1-0 victory over St Neots at the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday.
Will Grocott popped up with the only goal of the game in the 50th minute, firing home Lewis Wilson’s cross to seal a deserved three points for Town.
Byfield saw his side ship 15 goals in eight pre-season friendlies, but he was a happy man after watching his side produce an assured defensive display against a dangerous Saints side.
“I’m delighted with that,” said former Aston Villa striker Byfield.
“Any manager would like to start the season with three points, especially when you’re at home.
“It’s fantastic to get a clean sheet, especially considering how many goals we had conceded in pre-season.
“There will be setbacks and you’re not going to win every game, but we are going to get better and we’re going to get stronger.
“It’s not individuals that are going to win us games, it’s going to be collectively. We have to be a team and we have to fight for each other.”
Byfield saved some special words for defensive duo Brad Maslen-Jones and Jamie McAteer, who both enjoyed excellent debuts in the centre of defence.
“They were absolutely superb,” Byfield added.
“Especially in a game where they were bombarded by set-pieces, particularly the long throw-ins.
“Those are the games even good sides get beat in, because they can’t cope with that type of threat.”
Town return to Southern League Premier Division Central action on Monday night at Stourbridge, ahead of another away trip to Royston this Saturday.