Castle in positive mood despite draw

Two wins over August Bank Holiday will result in a productive August

STEVE Castle was in positive mood despite seeing his side let a 2-0 lead slip away from home for the second time this season.

Castle’s St Albans City side had taken a deserved 2-0 lead at Staines Town on Tuesday night only for the hosts to peg them back in the second half but far from being despondent the City manager praised his side for not caving in.

“I think it was an exceptional performance by us in the first half,” Castle said afterwards.

“The shutting down from everybody was superb and so was the quality of the goals.

“What was said to them at half time was the first 10 -15 minutes of the second half are going to be vital.

“They did get a little bit of luck but their first goal in the first minute, I think it was the first movement, of the second half.

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“I think it would have killed a lot of teams and maybe teams would have completely folded. I really do give our lads a lot of credit they stayed with it, yes they got themselves an equaliser, but it’s that first goal that’s given them the incentive because to be perfectly frank I didn’t think they fancied come half time.

“I think any team, the length and breadth of the country that’s going to kill them. They’re absolutely devastated but I think we can take a lot of positives which I think is important.”

The City manager took the decision to give Ben Martin the captain’s armband to allow James Fisher to concentrate on his football and it was a move that appeared to pay off with Fisher turning in his best performance of the season.

“I feel for him,” Castle said.

“The lad got put into a little bit of a strange position on Saturday he’s been dragged twice, he’s taken it the right way he’s come back and he’s had a cracking performance.

“There’s no reflection on it (taking away the armband), I didn’t think it was too much responsibility for James in any shape or form but Ben and Frates and Adam Everitt are all captains in my eyes and I just thought I’d let James get on with his game and hopefully, especially first half, it worked.”

There was a new face on the City bench at Wheatsheaf Park in the shape of Sean Shields. The former Cockfosters and Rushden & Diamonds man can play either as a striker or out on the wing and Castle is hoping he can have an impact in the coming weeks.

He said: “He’s come from the college pre-season, he’s as young as that. He’s had two years at Rushden & Diamonds and he’s a local lad.

“I wouldn’t have had any qualms if I’d put him on; he’s a centre forward come wide lad.

“Over time hopefully he’ll get a couple of games in reserve team football. It would have been a bit of a gamble at this stage, had we got a third or fourth he might have got a look in.”

The Bank Holiday weekend promises to be a busy one for the Saints with Hampton & Richmond visiting Clarence Park on Saturday before the Saints head to York Road to take on Maidenhead United and the City boss believes two wins from those games will result in a productive opening month to the campaign.

“I think there’s a lot of heart to be taken from the performances,” explained Castle.

“If we can get two wins against teams in our budget range, in Hampton and Maidenhead, then I think that ends up in being a decent August.”