Bootle FC manager Joe Doran says he is happy to pick up three points from their opening two as they settle into life in the Northern Premier League West.
Doran was pleased to see his side cope with the “intensity” and “physicality” off the league in their opening two games against Mossley and Kendal Town.
In recent years, they’d narrowly missed out on promotion with a number of second and third placed finishes in the North West Counties, but this summer were rewarded with the upward movement into step four.
Life in the higher division almost got off to the perfect start with their trip to Greater Manchester but two goals in four minutes from the Lillywhites including a stunning strike from Kane Hickman after Ben Hodkinson opened the scoring for the Bucks.
Despite the disappointment, Doran noticed positives from the opening day performance even if it was a bitter lesson to start the campaign.
“[It’s] Disappointing obviously, the were some positives to take from the game the fact we created so many chances, we had four or five guilt-edged chances were the goalie has made a really good save or we’ve missed the target.
“There was lots of positives but it was difficult, once you don’t get the second and third goals and the home team was in the ascendancy.
“But another positive it showed that if the lads were under any illusions about how difficult the league going to be then it showed it was abundantly clear when you don’t take your chances any side in this league they do and they will win the game and that’s exactly what happened.
“They definitely showed that they can create [chances] and cope, what was different was the intensity of the game was a lot higher and the physicality.
“It was a good introduction to the league, obviously we didn’t get a positive one but in terms of being able to learn it was well worth it.”
The turnaround was quick and the curtain raiser at Vesty Road came with Kendal travelling to Bootle.
Will Bell opened the scoring with a header but the Mint Cakes were back in the game six minutes later through Gregory McCaragher’s deflected strrike.
Elliott Hughes and Jack McGowan were also on the scoresheet to give Doran’s side their first win of the season.
But, it was a nervy ending with Eric Yahaya scoring with five minutes of normal time.
“Kendall haven’t been up there in terms of league position but that’s because how strong the league’s been,” Doran added.
“We got off to a great start then we looked like we were in the ascendancy.
“Obviously they probably scored against the run of play with a deflected shot but the lads showed good character to keep going then to get a couple more goals.
“With 15-20 minutes to go they were going Gung-Ho and we stood up well to it, obviously they got a goal which made it a bit nervy but it will do wonders for the confidence because they got the three points.
“Both performances have been really good in terms of positive attacking play and chance creation so in that respect I’m really pleased. Obviously we do need to tighten up at the back but that’ll come with experience and knowhow.
“If you’d said to me, ‘what would you take from the first two games’ I’d of probably took four but to have three [points], we go into the FA Cup and then we have a tough away game against Clitheroe, but I’m glad I’m sitting here speaking to you with three points rather than one or zero.”