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Paul Carden: Bottle that Telford winning feeling

Paul Carden urged his players to bottle the feelgood factor that flowed in abundance following his side’s 5-0 mauling of Darlington on Saturday.

Paul Carden clapping fans after the game.
Paul Carden clapping fans after the game.

The Bucks remain bottom of the Vanarama National League North table, but closed the gap to two points with an emphatic victory, albeit one that hadn’t looked likely in the opening 45 minutes, as Carden admitted:

“I felt we were a little bit tentative, but that’s probably to be expected. As the game wore on, I felt we grew into it more, and I though the players started to grow themselves in confidence, and more like the players we see on a Tuesday and Thursday night in training.”

The Bucks held a slender 1-0 advantage at half-time, given to them from the penalty spot by Brendon Daniels after Kai Williams was tripped in the penalty area. Some felt the award was contentious, with Darlo boss Alun Armstrong claiming that Williams had confessed to simulation to his defender Kallum Griffiths, but Carden felt otherwise:

“It was a penalty; there were no complaints from them at all.”

Although that goal raised hopes, it was a goal from Williams in the opening 20 seconds of the second half that transformed hope into belief, although it almost happened too quickly for Carden:

“I was actually just walking around the back of the goal when we scored, but it was a great goal, from the kick-off, and I thought from then on you could just seeing the players growing more and more. Everyone looked as though they were 2-3 inches taller; there were some really good goals, and it could have been more.”

“That’s what a goal can do; the confidence that you can gain from it.”

Williams’ goal was the catalyst for a devastating spell in the first fifteen minutes of the second period. Mace Goodridge added a second goal in his last two games and had claims on a third as the Bucks strode into a 4-0 lead, albeit it was more likely an own goal that put the Bucks out of sight.

Williams went on to claim a second goal with the last kick of the game, with the visitors down to ten men following the dismissal of substitute Joe Wheatley. He was red-carded with barely a minute left in regulation time for a foul on Goodridge, who drew praise for his work in a new-look midfield trio alongside Liam Nolan and loan signing Keaton Ward:

“At half-time I told the two lads further on in midfield, Mace and Keats to push right onto their two, who were trying to dictate in our half, which we didn’t want and which shouldn’t have been happening. They’ve both got good energy and drive, they’re strong lads. We really got hold of it in there in the second half, and that was the platform for the attacking play we showed.”

The game was almost a metaphor for the Bucks entire season, as Carden emphasised:

“I’ve said it before, but we’re into the second half of the season now, and the second half has got to be better than the first half. Let’s use today as a springboard to make that happen.”

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