Axminster Town boss: That’s the standard we need to stick to in the coming season
- Credit: Archant
Axminster Town boss Josh Stunell was delighted with his teams general performance in a 2-2 draw at Tiger Way against Southern League Division One South outfit Willand Rovers.
The Tigers twice lead the step four team twice before a last-minute equaliser meant that honours ended even.
Reece McCabe had put Town 1-0 up and, after a Willand leveller, Marky Jones fired the Tigers into a 2-1 half-time lead.
Stunell said: “Prior to the game I was reckoning on two outcomes. The first being that they [Willand Rovers] would turn us over which would leave me saying to our lads that, look, that’s the standard you need to aspire to, or, and indeed, as it turned out, we’d give a really good account of ourselves to enable me to say to the lads, there you are, that’s your standard set, you have delivered against a Southern League side, now go forth and repeat that on a consistent basis at South West Peninsula League level.”
When asked about individual performances, the Tigers boss had glowing praise for goalkeeper Will Whitworth of whom he said: “Will was outstanding and it’s fair to say that if he doesn’t make the four or five top, top saves he does, then we get turned over.
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“That said, we all accept, in a team, game that we all have different jobs to do and Will, as ‘keeper, did his very well.
“I thought all 18 lads who were involved put a shift in and the general consensus when we spoke afterwards that they had all taken plenty from the contest and that performance and result would give the lads real confidence running through the remainder of the pre-season programme and indeed into the forthcoming league campaign.”
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Speaking generally about his team, Stunell said: “It’s a young Tigers team. Against Willand Rovers our oldest player was 25-year-old Chris Sully while the youngest on duty was 16-year-old Jack Godfrey. What we have is hungry - and talented - young players all wanting to do well as one.”
There was a decent number watching the game, though this level of football is meant to be played behind closed doors.
The Tigers said what a lot of football folk are thinking when he said: “Look, there are some very mixed messages out there.
“One guideline is games behind closed doors and yet then you learn that if you have a bar and a patio/beer garden area the you can open, albeit observing stringent social distancing and that’s what we have been doing in our clubhouse bar.
“The crazy thing is then that, at kick-off, if you allow all the folk in the clubhouse bar together on the patio area then you are indeed causing a problem so surely, the answer is to allow people to watch the game while spread out to observe all the necessary social distancing guidelines around by spacing themselves around the pitch perimeter fencing!”
Next up for the Tigers is this Saturday’s (August 8) Tiger Way meeting with Newton 66.
Stunell says: “Ideally I’d like to get our matchday squad down to 15 or 16, and the beauty of having the new second team is that we can do that, to ensure there’s a good spread of game time afforded to all players during the pre-season.
“Dan [Town reserve team boss Dan Prettejohn] has put together a very useful side and I don’t think there’s any doubt now that the strength of the two teams is such that players will be able to interchange to ensure both sides are best equipped for successful campaigns in their respective leagues.”
The photographs shown with this article are all taken by Sarah McCabe who will be photographing many of the Tigers’ games this coming season. Sarah is very happy to let folk have copies of her pictures and, all she asks for in return, is a donation be made to the Air Ambulance. You can get in touch with Sarah at email@example.com