Alistair Waddecar admits there were a few shocked expressions in the Bamber Bridge dressing room after the opening game of the new season.
The Brig winger and his team-mates sat in stunned silence at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium after being trounced 7-1 by newly-relegated Droylsden.
Beginning the new NPL First Division North season on the receiving end of such an hiding was certainly not in the script for last season’s play-off finalists. However, manager Neil Crowe and his assistant Neil Reynolds will be pleased with the way their men have responded since.
Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup preliminary qualifying round away win at Stocksbridge Park Steels was the fourth game unbeaten since the Droyldsen debacle.
A 2-1 win over derby rivals Clitheroe and two draws against Radcliffe Borough and Kendal Town means Brig have brought some semblence of order to the start of their campaign. And Waddecar believes the defeat against Droylsden has become a motivating factor behind the team’s recent good run.
“The first game was a bit weird to be honest,” Waddecar said. “It was just one of those games – a freak result. They played okay – but they just seemed to score on nearly every attack they had.
“We obviously didn’t play very well. Droylsden have spent a lot of money over the summer after getting relegated last season.
“So they have got a decent side and should do okay, but I don’t think they are that good.
“It was a bad start, but it was good that we managed to bounce back in the next game against Clitheroe – and the one after that as well against Radcliffe.
“We needed the win over Clitheroe and should have got all three poinst against Radcliffe.
“I think losing to Droyslden has motivated us a bit more.
“We probably should have won the games we have drawn, but at least we haven’t lost them.”
Waddecar handed Brig the lead early on against Stocksbridge at the weekend and Matthew Kay doubled the advantage shortly after. It was a lead they refused to relinquish for the rest of the match as they safely booked their passage into the first round of qualifying of the famous competition.
“It was a good win on Saturday,” Waddecar said.
“We played really well and it could have been four or five really in the first half.
“In the second half, we just tried to kill the game off and that’s what happened – it was a well deserved win. It would be good to have a good run in the competition.
“We haven’t done that well in it these past few years.”
This weekend, Crowe’s men travel to Ossett Albion, who have picked up one point less than Brig tomorrow and have lost their first two league games at home.
Waddecar said the aim this season is to go one better than last season and win promotion, but admitted his men may find it difficult to emulate last season’s fourth place finish.
Waddecar said: “Ossett will be tough – there are a lot of good teams this year. I think we might struggle to do as well as we did last season. But we’ve managed to keep the same team and brought in one or two players. The team spirit is really good.”