After a record third place finish last season, Gresford Athletic were tipped as a side to watch in the 2017/18 Huws Gray Alliance season.
Yet with seven games played, all has not gone as planned for manager Steve Halliwell and his side.
They have clocked up just seven points, averaging a point per game, placed 12th in the 15-team league. The side find themselves lagging behind the top teams after shock losses against the likes of Denbigh and Penrhyncoch, but as Halliwell reveals to Y Clwb Pel Droed, Gresford are looking to learn from their errors to kick-start their season.
“To lose our first four games was a massive disappointment; we had a pretty decent pre-season losing only once out of seen games so we were very confident of getting off to a good start, it’s fair to say there were a few crossed words sat in the Penrhyncoch dressing room!
“It was exactly what we needed, we made it clear that what had gone on in that and the previous 3 games was nowhere near good enough, we said we were looking to bring in some more players and move out lads who were not performing to the required level, which we have done and so far it’s paid off.”
Whilst disappointed, Halliwell sees the team’s main issues in defensive errors and discipline, with an eye watering four red cards in seven games for Gresford so far – which while entertaining the spectator is something Halliwell and his coaching staff are keen to solve.
“Two of the biggest things that’s affected our season so far is conceding to many goals and our discipline, four reds is a terrible record this early in the season, also six penalties against us, but the lads know our feelings on this and to be fair we are looking much better in that respect in the last three games.
“Defensively as a whole team we can be better, but with our ability to score goals from all over the pitch it’s certainly making for some entertaining games for the fans !! Not so for me and Rich my assistant!”
But things are getting better for Gresford, as they travel to Holyhead this week unbeaten in three. After some dramatic clashes with Halliwell expects a tough challenge to make it four.
“I’m expecting a really tough encounter again up there; we needed a 93rd minute goal to beat them last year and a 92nd minute goal to draw at home!
I’ve been very impressed by their start and the standout result is obviously beating Caernarfon away, a daunting place to go – but to come away with three points shows these boys can compete with anyone in the league, however I’m confident in my team going there and getting a positive result.”
The Gresford boss confirms he has a full strength team going to Holyhead following the return of Tom Freeman and Simon Smith.
“We now have all players free from suspension and injury so we go there at full strength, great to have Tom Freeman and Simon Smith back and Owen Roberts is amongst the goals following five games out injured, he’s got three in two since his return.”