Petersfield Town manager Connor Hoare was proud of his side’s efforts after they fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat at home to Wessex League Premier Division leaders Shaftesbury at Love Lane.
The Rams were boosted by the midweek signing of experienced defender Tyler Giddings from AFC Portchester, and he was straight in the starting line-up.
The Rams made a dream start and took the lead in the fourth minute when a good move ended with Liam Kimber firing home.
The visitors equalised on 27 minutes through a fine volley from Cameron Beard. Shaftesbury were awarded a penalty on 40 minutes, which was calmly despatched by former Portsmouth striker Brett Pitman.
Shaftesbury went 3-1 up in the 58th minute through a header from Ash Wells.
The Rams pulled a goal back in the 87th minute when a good move was finished off in style by Matt Dougan, but the visitors held on for the three points.
“There are lots of positives to take from Saturday,” said Hoare.
“There’s lots to build on and lots to work with that we need to take into other games.
“The main thing we were pleased to see was the amount of energy and effort the lads put in.
“Some people ran 13km in the match – if we can keep that intensity and that effort in the upcoming games we’ll be okay.
“Liam’s goal was a really good move and something we’d been working on.
“Their first goal we can be disappointed with, but the second goal is never a penalty.
“At 3-2 their keeper made a fantastic save. We had chances, we were in the game throughout the entire match and we limited them to not many chances. We played well – now we need to get the results to go with it.”
Hoare was pleased to add Giddings to his squad and believes he will be a valuable asset.
“Tyler is an excellent signing,” said Hoare. “He’s someone I know really well and will be a brilliant addition. He will add leadership qualities. He’s experienced, well liked, well respected and has lots of aggression.
“Physically he’s very good and he is a very good defender. If you have the chance to bring a player of that quality in you have to bring them in – so we’re really pleased to have added him.”
Saturday’s narrow defeat against Shaftesbury followed a 3-0 defeat at high-flying AFC Stoneham in the Wessex League Premier Division last Tuesday night (November 21).
A quickfire Stoneham double at the start of the game was followed by a second-half strike.
Matt Bainbridge made the breakthrough with a powerful header from a corner which took a deflection as it went through the crowded area and in.
Seconds later a lack of communication in defence led to Tyrell Sampson latching on to the ball and slotting under Rams keeper Jay Morris before he could set himself.
The points were settled in the 68th minute. Jack Farrier’s pass was intercepted, and Sampson slalomed past Kieran Alcock and Liam Kimber before tucking his effort home at the near post.
Next up for the Rams is a trip to United Services Portsmouth in the Wessex League Premier Division today (Saturday) at 3pm, and Hoare wants to see his side take the game to their opponents.
“We expect United Services to be direct and have lots of speed at the top of the pitch – especially on the wings – so it’s important we’re prepared for balls over the top for their wingers to run on to and to defend crosses,” said Hoare.
“I expect us to go there and dominate the ball, and really stamp our authority on the game. I expect to see the intensity we’ve seen in the past two games – that’s the challenge for us now. We’ve shown we can compete with good sides so we need to go and stamp our authority on the sides that are in and around us in the league and start picking up a few results.”