REACTION | Resilient Stones take a point at Wrexham
Stuart Maynard was a proud manager after seeing his resilient side grind out a point at Wrexham.
The Welsh side had scored 11 goals in their last two matches and boasted Paul Mullens, who scored 32 goals last season, in their ranks, but the Stones kept the home side at arms' length and dug out a goalless draw. It was the first time the Red Dragons have drawn a blank this season.
"I'm delighted," said Maynard. "We showed how our structure works against a top side. They struggled to open us up and get after us. They have scored 11 in their last two games and we restricted them to two chances. We'd have taken that before the game. The lads deserve all the credit. They are taking things on board and we are learning on the job, getting better game by game."
Maynard felt the way Jerome Okimo came off the bench to replace Nik Tavares, who will be assessed ahead of Dartford on Tuesday following an injury, summed up the spirit his team played with.
"Jerome played injured today and that shows what a leader, what a skipper and what a warrior he is," said Maynard. "He's got a niggle but he is doing it for the team and that's what you need to get results in this relentless league."
Jayden Sweeney also scrubbed up well on his debut after signing on loan from Leyton Orient on the eve of the game.
"He hasn't played in a long time so to play with that intensity was brilliant," said Maynard on the 19-year-old left-sided player. "We research players who come in and do our homework, so we knew he was a good player, but to come in and do it against that sort of opposition is testament to his character and ability."
The result at Wrexham was in stark contrast to the team's last big journey away when they lost 5-0 at Torquay. It is now only one defeat in six since and three clean sheets on the bounce.
"You obviously can't come out and say this after you lose 5-0, but we didn't play too bad that day,"said Maynard. "We made three errors and they scored two worldies. We haven't changed much since. We've just kept doing what we have been practising and preaching and stuck to our principles. It's a slowly but surely process and we'll still have bad days in this league, but everyone has those. Grimsby lost four on the bounce and Torquay were nine points clear at the top last season and didn't win in seven games. We need to be reslient. We are on track and the lads are performing to a very high level."
Around 200 Stones fans made the long trip to North Wales and were in magnificent voice throughout.
"I'm so proud," said Maynard. "The fans have been incredible all season. It was an incredibly frustrating game against Dagenham and we get it as we didn't want to play like that. We all get frustrated at times, but we must all stick together. The fans were incredible at home to Barnet and probably got us the win as it wasn't a great game. And at Wrexham you could hear our fans over their 8,000 from minute one to the 95th minute. It drives the lads on, especially at the end when they are turning and sprinting to get back into their shape at the end. They were the 12th man again and it shows we are all in this together."