Dale Belford delighted with whole team effort

Hinckley AFC manager Dale Belford praised his side’s collective effort in their Buildbase FA Vase win over AFC Mansfield.

AFC progressed to the third round courtesy of Luke Richards’ second half brace against a side from the level above.

But Belford said his side put a lot of effort into the game and deserved to win. He said:

“I’m absolutely delighted for the lads. They’ve put a lot of effort into the game, and you could see how much it meant.

“There was plenty of effort, the fans were unbelievable and I’m really pleased. They’re a good side, full of experienced players but I think we were deserving of winning the game.”

Now nearly a month into his tenure, Belford feels he’s starting to get what he wants from his squad and pinpointed the second goal, a fine team move, as a prime example.

“We want to build a team with our togetherness, but once we get the ball into the final third and build up a head of steam we’re hard to stop. The interplay between three or four players for that goal was truly magnificent.

“Not only has Luke got the goals, his workrate was phenomenal. He’s a great foil for Steve Hart up front. Harty’s been tremendous, you see the effort he’s putting in during the last minute of the game when he’s working back. That’s another side to his game that he’s improving on but it was a massive collective effort today.”

He also praised Bekir Halil’s contribution alongside Marcus Jackson in the middle of the park, and said the energy they brought to the game was crucial.

“His (Halil’s) enthusiasm is fantastic. That’s why I wanted him here. He’s brilliant in the dressing room, he’s improving all the time in the position I want him to play and he understands that.

“But that kid covers a lot of ground and that’s exactly what I need. Jacko was phenomenal as well. Young Lamar Graham came on and put a shift in as well, and he now understands first team football.

“But it’s a massive collective effort. You can see what it meant to the fans coming off at the end and there’s no reason why we can’t have a bit of a run in the competition.”

He might not be thinking of reaching Wembley, but Belford wants to go as far as he can in the FA Vase this season.

“It’s a great competition. The further you go, the better it is. But we just want to win games irrespective of whether it’s league or cup.

“We want to build some momentum. Everybody’s pulling in the same direction now, it’s enjoyable to watch, we always look to win the game and we’ve done that today.”

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