Shamir Fenelon says that Saturday’s fine victory at The Shay was down to the team rediscovering its ruthless streak after Gary Waddock made some subtle changes to his gameplan at half-time.
The winger scored the Shots’ first goal of the season with a fine breakaway strike after being told to push forward in the second-half, and admitted: “He said we were being too nice – looking pretty but without any end product. We needed to make more final balls and runs into the box, and he said that if we do that we’ll win the game. So that’s what we did!”
The Shaymen had started strongly but failed to create many clear chances and ultimately Jake Cole had just one save to make in the entire 90 minutes.
“I thought the team did well, I think we grew into the game,” agreed the Irishman, who knew exactly what to expect from the newly-promoted Yorkshire team – and particularly the need to repel an early onslaught. “We were told that before the game, but it’s the same in every away game so we knew it was going to happen. The first 15-20 minutes are always important, especially away from home.
“We saw their weaknesses, and we know our strengths, and we worked on the gameplan – we weren’t coming for a point, we were coming for three.
“It was the first game of the season so it was all a bit frantic but we grew into the game, towards the end of the first-half, and started to get a bit more comfortable. Then in the second-half we upped it a few more levels.”
That added impetus got its reward on 59 minutes, as Fenelon nipped stole in behind the defence and rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty net.
“Rends got the ball and I’d been told to run beyond him,” he remembered of the move, “so I got the ball, took a touch beyond the defender, and I saw the keeper coming out. That made my mind up, to go round him. He came out into all that space so I knew I could take it round him into an open goal.”
Before James Rowe’s 90th minute penalty sealed victory, Fenelon thought he’d put The Shots 2-0 ahead only to see the goal ruled out for a debatable offside decision after a lengthy discussion between the referee and his assistant.
“I was onside,” he asserted, when Scott Rendell was penalised without touching he ball. “I think he should have given it, but I would say that, wouldn’t I? Once Rends explained it to me I thought it was going to be given.”
It mattered not, though, and Shamir was satisfied with the performance – but knows that The Shots must maintain those standards at the EBB Stadium against Torquay United. “It’s a good start. 2-0, clean sheet and three points away from home. It makes all that hard work that we’ve been doing in pre-season feel worthwhile.
“To get three points away from home in the first game of the season is great, but we’ve got to back it up on Tuesday, so we’ll be going for the three points again.”