Daventry Town boss Allan Smart is convinced his struggling team is getting stronger every week.
Town were narrowly beaten 1-0 at play-off chasing Barton Rovers on Saturday, and although he and his players returned home pointless, Smart insists he saw encouraging signs.
“There are signs that we are getting stronger putting our opponents under a lot of pressure,” said the former Watford striker.
“We were never out of this game and created a handful of good chances putting a good team under a lot of pressure at times.
“Until we get points on the board regularly we will be trying to improve, but there are plenty of signs that we are making progress which will inevitably lead to a more settled group of players.
“The greatest challenge I have faced has been getting a consistent level of performance, but this was partly due to the club being left with just a handful of players a month ago.”
Saturday’s match was settled by a smartly taken goal by sought-after striker Keshi Anderson.
Smart introduced two new signings to his starting line-up after the departure of Josh Blake to Coventry United. Striker James Weale, who joined from neighbours Rugby Town, partnered Tommy Berwick up front, and 28-year-old winger David Parkinson from Colney Heath took his place on the right wing.
A third new recruit, Todd Sawko a 25-year-old midfielder from Bedford came off the bench early in the second half.
Barton started well, and striker Kim Forsythe and Keshi Anderson wasted chances, fore Anderson made it 1-0.
The striker was given too much space and he slotted the ball past Ben Heath for his 10th goal of the season.
Daventry hit back, and Tommy Berwick passed to James Weale, but his first time shot was blocked.
Berwick shot narrowly over the bar from distance minutes later, but Daventry created very few other chances of note in the first half!
Jack Howard also provided a pinpoint cross onto the head of Weale but the striker was unable to get any power on the ball.
The tempo of the match was disrupted just before the break with a series of niggling fouls and bad tempered confrontations, with Weale being booked for a handball offence.
Rovers substitute Ben Sawyer should have put the match beyond Daventry’s reach but the forward somehow managed to fire over from just five yards - a Ronnie Rosenthal moment!
The impressive David Parkinson almost levelled for Daventry but keeper Forster dived low to his right to turn the ball around the post for a corner and substitute Joe DeBayo thumped a shot past the post from the resulting corner.
Berwick almost forced the keeper into making a mistake late on in the match, the keeper fumbling his shot for another corner high up near the crossbar.
On Saturday Daventry continue their travels visiting St Ives Town in Cambridgeshire.
Barton Rovers 1 Daventry Town 0
Saturday 6th December 2014
Competition: Southern League Central Division
Location: Luton Road, Barton Le Clay, Bedfordshire.
Daventry Town: Ben Heath, Ashley Deeney, Ricky Hill, Jack Howard, Jamal Clarke, Craig McKay, David Parkinson (Ryan Zidyana 83mins), Ryan Howell, Tommy Berwick, James Weale (Todd Sawko 55mins), Harry Southern (Joe DeBayo 70mins)
Subs: not used – Fred Ayebare, Sam Bello -Balogun
Cards: Yellow: James Weale 45mins, Ricky Hill 86mins.
Goal scorer: Rovers – Keshi Anderson 19mins
Managers Man of the Match: Jack Howard