A proud Mark Ashford feels Witham Town's win against Brentwood Town will be a result that will be fondly recalled by everyone at the Village Glass Stadium when the Bostik League division north season draws to a close.
The Witham manager hailed his players as "champions" for the way they stood tall against adversity and triumphed 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
Losing two members of his team - goalkeeper Luca Collins and Kevin Coyle - to first-half injuries and having a number of others playing through the pain barrier in the second half proved a big ask in a bruising encounter.However, the way that they rose to the challenge filled Ashford with pride and he said it had allowed them to keep the momentum of their recent form going as they prepare to head to Mildenhall Town on Saturday
He said: “Brentwood are a good team, they beat (leader) Bowers & Pitsea 3-0 and they have some good players in there.“They really did test us in the first half, so to do what we did, against a team like that, in the second half, I was blown away.
“I said to the players at Canvey, I said to them after Coggeshall, I said to them at Maldon and I said to them again after Brentwood – I am so proud of them.
“I am so proud of what they did in that second half on Saturday.“To restrict them to literally Danny (Norton) having to make one save and a couple of difficult catches, against a good team, was something special.
“I said to my assistants John (Sussex) and Kevin (Wren) at half-time, that the break was all about psychology in that game.
“We had to build them up and make them want to go out and be champions, but the players had to want to go out and do that.
“That talk may take them through 15 minutes but after that it was all about what was inside and I thought the players were magnificent.
“I can’t speak highly enough of them.
“Now we just want to keep it going because momentum in sport is everything."
The superb defensive display through the second 45 minutes meant Witham held on to the win earned for them by a strike from Toby Aromolaran and a Luke Mallet penalty in the first-half and Ashford said he had learned as much about his team from this game as from any of their recent strong runHe added: “At half-time, you're saying to the players that you need leaders and you need people who will really step up, but you don’t know how they are going to respond.
“Let’s not forget that we had had to make one sub early on (for Kevin Coyle going off) so with Luca (Collins) going off, it was two before half-time.
“But I thought that the players all responded to it and showed that this togetherness we have had is real.
“It’s not just a flash in the pan.
“Fast forward to the end of the season and the presentations when you review the season and look back at moments, we’ll be talking about this game.
“We’ll be saying ‘do you remember when we lost Luca just before half-time, we had no goalkeeper and Danny Norton went in goal? Everyone was saying that he’s only five foot five.’
“Those are moments to look back on.
Updated 17:41 - 10 Jan 2019 by swifty
By Simon Spurgeon