REACTION | "I'm delighted for Stu. He deserves it."
Matt Saunders felt the coaching team's carefully crafted gameplan paid off in the joyous 1-0 win over rivals Barnet.
Manager Stuart Maynard and Saunders, his trusty assistant, have ensured the Blue & White army have been in every game this, bar the one at Torquay, and they did the same at a packed Vale on Saturday, keeping the game nice and tight before sending on substitute Rhys Browne to grab the winner with 13 minutes remaining. The Stones then saw the game out with a fifth clean sheet in eight home matches.
"If there was ever a day when the performance didn't matter and it was about the result, then this was it," said Saunders. "Barnet are an off-the-cuff team and make things awkward for you as they don't play with any structure. It was a scrappy game until Alex Dyer came on and settled us down. Our superiority showed then for ten minutes, we scored and then did enough to hold on. It was a difficult decision to leave Alex out, but we feel we got it right. Credit to him in the way he trained this week and then played."
A slow burner of a match took a while to catch fire but when it did, the record crowd of 2662 lapped it up and were bouncing with delight at full-time.
"We have to give them something to cheer about it," said Saunders. "We did that and they responded. The onus is on us to give them something to cheer about but they've also got to understand why we move and pass the ball. When we pass the ball, we were superior to them [Barnet]. When we let it become a fight, there is nothing in the game. I know people get frustrated at the ball not going forward, but the reason why we do it is because we are superior at doing it and it moves [opposition] centre-halves around who don't want to move."
The win made it back-to-back 1-0 home wins and also successive National League wins over the Bees.
"There has been such a build-up to this one and we just wanted to get the game out the way and get the result," said Saunders. "I thought we did that and we are delighted. They threw the kitchen sink at the end and so they should. They've got unbelievable resources and facilities. They should be coming here and beating us, but we've bridged the gap with hard work behind the scenes and on the pitch. We've matched them and then bettered them. I'm delighted for Stu as he deserves it more than anyone. I'm delighted for the fans and everyone connected with the club."