HELLENIC LEAGUE: Formation switch the key to Fairford's win
PAUL Braithwaite lavished praise on his Fairford side after they secured a 2-1 win at North Leigh United in Hellenic League Division One West.
Despite a last-minute tweak to the formation, the Gloucestershire outfit were not thrown off course and they were good value for the three points.
Dan Bailey smashed Fairford in front with a drilled long-range free kick in the first half and the lead was doubled not long after, when Bailey's shot was followed up by Nathan Gambling who slotted home from close range.
The home side pulled one back after the interval, but Fairford held on for the win.
Boss Braithwaite explained that his players deserved credit for getting the job done under trying circumstances.
“North Leigh are off the back of a few good wins so their tails are up at the moment," he said.
“We're having to re-adjust every other week at the moment because players are going to pastures new in the league above, and we changed formation on Saturday to address that.
“I'm not going to reveal what it was because that would be silly and other teams would adjust.
“We didn't have an opportunity to train with it and for 10 minutes before the game we had a bit of paper and a few pens and talked the lads through it.
“I think that our first-half performance meant we deserved the 2-0 lead at half-time, we controlled the game.
“In the second half we had a good 15-minute spell and then seemed to go a bit sloppy. We lost our way with substitutions and things like that, but we ground out the result and that's all that matters.”
The result allowed Fairford to tighten their grip on third place in Division One West, but Braithwaite is keen for his team to remain under the radar as much as possible as the season heads into a crucial stage.
“We'll keep going about our business quietly and keep plugging away,” said Braithwaite.
“We've had to re-adjust because we've lost six players to the Prem in the past month who would have started.
“Any team that loses six players who start every week is going to struggle, but fair credit to the lads in the squad - whoever goes on the pitch puts in a shift and shows a lot of desire.
“We couldn't ask for more effort from the lads that we've got in the first team at the moment.
“We will just go about our business and see what happens.”
Elsewhere in the division, New College’s home clash with Shortwood United reserves was postponed due to the wet weather.