Axminster Town boss Dan Prettejohn was delighted with his team’s first pre-season game, a 3-2 defeat to Western league Division One outfit Wincanton Town with the Tigers’ goals scored by Jamie Girton and Charlie Wilson.
Speaking after the defeat and ahead of tomorrow’s (Thursday, July 8) home meeting with another Western League Division One side, Wellington (7.30pm), the Tigers boss said: “I was buzzing after the Wincanton game as we played so well.
“At this stage of the pre-season, and particularly given it was our first outing as a ‘new’ team, there were so many aspects of the performance that were pleasing.
“Normally, I’d be analysing post match, fretting about a defeat and questioning my decisions and tactics feeling: ‘We should have done this better and done that better’, but you know, the bottom line here is that all three goals we shipped came from mistakes we made.
“I don’t mind that because that is what pre-season is all about, finding any weaknesses we have and recognising mistakes when they are made and making sure we don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.”
He continued: “We controlled the game against Wincanton for long periods and I will put the mistakes down to over-confidence. We played some great stuff and kept the ball in exactly the way I like my teams to.
“In pre-season, a key thing for the team to grasp is that we treat the ball as if it is ours! Results pre-season are not important for me. No, of far greater importance is for us to be a finely tuned outfit, one in which every player knows the ball is to be cherished and retained at all times – until we stick it in the opposition net that is!”
Looking ahead to the Wellington game, the Tigers’ boss said: “I want more of the same from the Wincanton game with the obvious ‘addition’ of not seeing the same mistakes and, indeed, making less mistakes in pre-season game two than we made in game one.”
“I also want the players to be ‘brave’ when in possession and, as much as I value ball retention, I also want the players to feel they can express themselves and so want them to be ‘brave’ with their decision making.
“Also high on my ‘want list’ is to ensure we get more miles in the legs – that’s a very important aspect of pre-season both in terms of match action and training sessions.”
He continued: “We have a few missing who were with us against Wincanton, but against that have a few coming in to play their first games with us against Wellington.”
As for how the squad building is going, The Tigers’ boss says: “I am happy with how things are going. After the Wincanton game a couple of the lads who I am keen to get signed with us, committed to the Town cause, and I am very hopeful that there will be a similar response after the Wellington fixture with a couple more lads.”
With regard to that Wellington game and, indeed, the match the following Tuesday (July 13) when Southern League Willand Rovers are at Tiger Way (7.30pm), The Tigers’ boss said: “If there is one thing I’d like it’d be that we attract a few more supporters to the games. I’d like to think we are going to provide the supporters with a ‘good watch’.
“That said I am fully aware that, in terms of the Town support and a relationship with the team, we have to accept it’s a case of building blocks and, believe me, I am totally committed to putting those blocks together to field an Axminster Town side that the supporters can feel proud of.”
Axminster Town remain open to any new players wanting to join them and the next Tiger Way training session will be on Thursday, July 15 (7pm).
Prettejohn says: “Anyone who feels they can improve us is more than welcome to come along and join us at one of the weekly training sessions.”
Before that next training session, Town do have those two home pre-season games with the Wellington game on Thursday night (July 8) followed by next Tuesdays’ (July 13) Tiger Way meeting with Willand Rovers.