Paul Shone: ‘Heathens were like a coil ready to explode against the Hares’
Having trained intensely both individually and as a team over the festive period, Flackwell Heath’s players were like ‘a coil ready to explode’ against Harefield United, according to assistant manager Paul Shone.
Absent from any competitive action since their draw with Dunstable Town (December 18), the Heathens were keen to keep themselves ticking over with solo runs and group sessions.
And on Monday, these preparations paid dividends as they demolished the Hares, 51, thanks to goals from Fabian Driffill (two), Aiden Higgs (two), and Chris Ayres’ son, Jamie.
“It was a fantastic performance from the group considering we hadn’t played competitively for such a long time,” Shone said after the match.
“The boys were absolutely outstanding in terms of maintaining their fitness with their own individual runs, plus also participating in two training sessions between Christmas and the New Year.
“I’d say 95 per cent of the squad attended which is a great turnout.
“That’s what got us the result on Monday. They’ve been chomping at the bit to get back playing again, and they were like a coil ready to explode.
“In the first half, we could’ve been out of sight. We dominated the match for 40 minutes, dropped off for five, and that is when they scored.
But the response in the second half, the energy levels, and the quality of goals we scored were outstanding from all 11 players, plus the three that came on to help get us over the line.”
The Heathens could have been forgiven if they were a little rusty given their hiatus in fixtures but Shone insisted his men were on the front foot from the first minute.
They did head into half-time a goal down but after a few words of encouragement at the break, the Heathens undeniably took their chances in the second half.
Driffill struck first to reduce the deficit before he put his side in the ascendancy in the 70th minute. Higgs then fired in another two as a substitute before Ayres scored late on.
“We were far from rusty – we were dominant from the first whistle,” added Shone. “We were on the front foot and had them penned in.
“I’d say we created about five or six chances in the first half to be well ahead and out of sight, but we weren’t. Chris and I know our players have the legs, and the quality, to see us through so we addressed a few things at halftime and the team took that into the second 45 minutes.
“We changed a couple of personnel to give us a kickstart in certain parts of the pitch and that helped us massively. It was just a matter of time until the first goal went in. It was great to get a couple of youngsters on the field too and they stood out in their performances. From man to man, it was an outstanding display.”