Delight with a point and performance but hard work starts now for Welwyn Garden City and Dean Barker
PUBLISHED: 17:07 16 January 2019
New Welwyn Garden City manager was delighted to come out of his first game in charge with a point and an impressive performance but warned "judge us in a few weeks".
An incredible week at Herns Lane saw Adam Fisher resign and the majority of his first-team squad follow him out of the door.
That left Barker, appointed on Friday, just a few days to assemble a team before their Southern League clash at home to Sutton Coldfield Town.
He managed to do so with a large number of young players taking the field on Tuesday night, sprinkled with a mix of experience.
And the hastily put together squad managed to claim a 1-1 draw, and it was almost more with the Royals only getting their equaliser with two minutes to go.
And the level of the performance brought an appreciative round of applause from the home support as the team left the field.
Barker though admits that was just the first step of a long journey with the hard work starting now.
He said: “It was a relief to get this out of the way and get the game played.
“As long as we didn’t take a hammering I would have been happy so I’m delighted with a point.
“Our only target though between now and the end of the season is to stay up.
“We could get hammered on Saturday though. We’ve got a new team and it’s going to take three or four weeks for us to get settled.
“Judge us in a few weeks time rather than the short term.
“We had to get the players in a little bit earlier to introduce them to each other and we had them out a bit earlier for the warm-up.
“It hasn’t been ideal obviously but we’ll move forward now.
“We’ll get the boys into training on Thursday and there may be a few different boys who play on Saturday but we’re delighted with a point.”
Only three of the squad remained from the Fisher era for this game and the trio were a galvanising force that helped drive WGC forward.
Barker said: “I made Dave Keenleyside captain and I thought he was superb. Jonny Sexton and Jay Rolfe played for me at Cockfosters so I knew they’d give me 100 per cent and I’m delighted they stayed at the club.
“Sutton Coldfield played really well but we’ve put a team together over two or three days, a young side, and I thought we battled away and gave everything for the club.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half. We should have had a penalty, we’ve hit the post and we’ve scored, so we could have been three up at half-time.
“They were the better team in the second half but it’s always gutting to concede in the 89th minute.
“We had a couple of half-chances with five or 10 minutes to go but Sutton Coldfield probably deserved their point at the end.
“However, if you’d offered me a point at the start of the game we’d have definitely taken it.”
Welwyn are at home again on Saturday when Aylesbury United are the visitors.