Wealdstone boss Bartlett knows the balance isn’t quite right yet
PUBLISHED: 16:56 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:56 13 August 2014
Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett was pleased to see his side gain their first point of the season against Eastbourne Borough – but he knows his team need to improve.
Bartlett was left frustrated after seeing his side concede an injury-time equaliser after surviving a penalty kick following Luke Pigden’s goal midway through the first half.
He said: “We know we’re not right. Before we start assessing the quality of teams in the league we need to concentrate on getting ourselves right.
“The goal from Luke Pigden was very good. I thought the two Jonathans were excellent – Jonathan North made some brilliant saves and Johnny Wright was the best outfield player.
“Credit also has to go to the defence but the biggest positive was getting the first point on the board.”
A second draw followed on Tuesday night against Bishop’s Stortford and Bartlett could make some changes for the Stones’ trip to the south coast on Saturday where they will face Gosport Borough.
He said: “Last season we always changed how we played away from home but we will probably stay the same for the Gosport match.
“We played 4-3-3 in the first game and one or two personnel might get changed.
“We played two up front against Wingate & Finchley during pre- season and were poor.
“Toby Little is naturally left- sided but by his own admission he didn’t play well against Northwood in our last pre-season match.
“It is like a jigsaw, to fit it all together you have to try different pieces. Last season we drew the first three matches but when Glenn Little came in we moved Tom Pett and it clicked. Hopefully we can find that balance soon.
“Only two players started the opening match who started the first game of last season. We didn’t realise quite how big a transition we have gone through on the pitch.
“My mentality, while we know we’re not right, is to be solid and difficult to beat.”
The 58-year-old admits losing left-back Jerome Okimo to Stevenage so close to the start of the season has not helped with the balance of the team.
Summer signing Carl Martin filled in at left-back against Eastbourne but Bartlett could well dip into the transfer market if the right player becomes available.
He said: “The interest in Jerome came totally out of the blue. It came immediately after we played Watford.
“Obviously Jerome gave us so much with his strength and he could also play at centre-back.
“Carl Martin played at left-back 20 times during his time at Crewe. We brought him in to play that deep-lying midfield role but a lack of match fitness means by playing at left-back he has a whole view of the game and doesn’t have to be twisting and turning like he would in midfield.
“He defended well but like Elliott Godfrey he could do with the season starting in two weeks’ time.
“Hopefully through playing matches he will get his match fitness.
“We will continue looking at the left-back role. We will bide our time but we are always on the lookout for players who we feel can add something to the team, whether that be a left-back or a striker.”
There were 706 fans at the opening game of the season and Bartlett hopes they will return for the next game at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday August 23 when the Stones take on Farnborough.
He said: “It was the biggest crowd in the league against Eastbourne, which surprised me. People have been looking forward to seeing us play at this level.”
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