Victories cheer Saints

Back-to-back wins please City boss

CITY boss Steve Castle praised the efforts of his side after they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Saints’ 3-0 win over local rivals Boreham Wood on New Year’s Day was followed up with a gutsy 1-0 win over Maidenhead on Bank Holiday Monday helping the Saints to climb off the foot of the table and up to 17th place in the Blue Square Bet South table.

“I’m really pleased, in some ways we carried on where we left off at Boreham Wood,” said Castle after Monday’s win.

“I wouldn’t say we played as fluently. I would say the opposition was a little bit better but yet again what we’ve asked of everyone is a massive amount of effort and that is what I got in abundance.”

Inih Effiong grabbed the headlines by netting twice at former club Boreham Wood before hitting the winner at Maidenhead United and Castle believes the young striker is reaping the rewards for his hard work: “He’s one of the nicest lads you’ll ever wish to meet.

“He’s so low maintenance, he just gets on with things.

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“He’s shown a great attitude in trying to get his place back. He got his place back by default but he’s taken the opportunity with both hands and now it’s ‘drop me if you dare’.

“It was the work rate issue that we wanted (addressing), he’s given it to me and the goals have come which is the icing on the cake.”

After a run of 12 games without a clean sheet the Saints have now racked up two in quick succession.

The defence, with the addition of Matt Hocking at right-back and Ben Martin in splendid form alongside Ryan Frater, has been particularly impressive but Castle says the front men also deserve some credit.

“Our back five, if we can keep those together and fit it’s an awesome prospect, it gives us a good base,” he said.

“The first line of defence are the two front lads and they’ve worked their socks off for the last two games and the quality of ball that’s going into the front players hasn’t been as good as it probably has if we’ve been on the back foot. So they take a lot of credit defensively.”

Castle now wants his side to extend their winning run throughout a congested January.

He added: “We’ve had two fantastic performances. I’m a little bit disappointed that we had so many games called off but what we will have is a lot of games throughout January.

“If they put the work rate in there is no reason why we cant’ do as we possibly can.

“What we’ve got is still a very young team, still a very inexperienced team up top and they’re going to make the odd mistakes but what they will do is come up with the odd piece of brilliance.”

Castle also took time to praise midfielder Adam Martin for his level of professionalism despite personal issues off the field.

“I think I’d like to say a word about Adam,” he said.

“Unfortunately he lost his father but I can honestly say in my whole time in football I’ve never known a lad with such a fantastic attitude. His response in doing things on the football pitch has been absolutely first class.

“My thoughts and all the football club’s thoughts are with him, he’s been an absolute testament to his late father.”

The weekend’s two victories propelled the club up the league table but they may not have those points very long depending on the outcome of the FA’s investigation into the club’s payments to players which is due on January 20.

“We’re always looking at the table. It wasn’t false, we were bottom of the table at Christmas but we hadn’t had a league game in six weeks,” explained Castle.

“If there is a fine for us then we’ll have to get as many points as possible and see where we go from there.

“We’ve had two league games and six points, I’m always looking to the next game and we’ve got Bromley now at home we should be going into that in a buoyant frame of mind; let’s see where that takes us.”