Greening pleased with start made by depleted Shire
LIAM Greening cast an upbeat eye over Shirehampton’s “solid” start to their Marcliff Gloucestershire County League programme and maintained: “Promotion remains our No 1 objective.”
Hampered, he concedes, by threadbare ranks spanning Shire’s first three hard-fought fixtures, Greening, who took charge late last year after switching from his role as No 2 to Andy Gurney with Roman Glass St George in the Toolstation Western League, is adamant there is much more to come from his team once more bodies are back to bolster them.
The Shire supremo admits he is still getting to grips with the County League scene. But in a bid to address frontline shortcomings, Greening has pitched in for two forwards he believes can make a difference in the bid to spearhead a top-table challenge.
“I’m hoping to get them both signed up ahead of our trip to Henbury on Saturday,” said Greening. “I’m really happy with the ‘keeper Matt Turner and our defence and midfield unit. I just need to improve the balance and chemistry of the side in terms of better width and attacking options.
“It’s credit to the lads that, despite the squad being so depleted, our first three games have seen us beat both Bromley Heath United and Sharpness 2-0 and then hold a very capable Gala Wilton team to a 1-1 draw at the weekend.
“It’s been a case of square pegs in round holes, especially in attacking areas, and we’ve been getting by because our defending, helped by having my brother Ciaran dropping back from up top to centre-half, has been solid and reliable, as one goal conceded so far tells you.
“We’ve been picking up injuries left, right and centre and to be fair to the lads, they have really dug in hard to try to compensate, knowing we’re nowhere near where we can be. Gala on Saturday was a prime example of where we’re at: had we not gifted them a goal, we’d have ground out a 1-0 win, even though they battered us in the second half without ever truly testing our ‘keeper, while at the other end we offered very little threat of our own.”
Of that ultimate prize, Greening said: “The objective remains promotion to step 6 football, be it Hellenic or Toolstation League.
“Earlier in the year our club entered a groundshare agreement to play home games at Bristol Manor Farm.
“A floodlight application is now going in to the local authority concerning our own ground at Penpole Lane, so there’s lots going on and I’ve been asked to oversee it all and do my best to achieve our aims.
“The County League is still new to me; but I’m prepared and ready to act quickly as I go along and as the picture becomes clearer to me.
“I’m confident once we get the balance of the team right we can soon get closer to the high standards of attacking play needed to compete at the top end of the table.”
Shirehampton are in good company when it comes to unbeaten starts made by Bristol clubs.
Two of them, Little Stoke and tomorrow’s visitors Wick, occupy third and second spots, respectively, each with three wins from three, meaning something will have to give in a mouthwatering encounter between the pair.
Fourth-placed Rockleaze Rangers head for the Forest of Dean to lock horns with a sixth-placed Broadwell Amateurs outfit parading the same unbeaten record as their visitors of two wins and a draw from three outings.
Patchway Town host Ruardean Hill Rangers, while Bromley Heath United and Hanham target their first points of the campaign at home to Hardwicke, and away at Frampton United, respectively.