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Herne Bay boss Sam Denly pleased with squad's response after opening day critiscm

Sam Denly is challenging his squad to maintain the standards they set in an impressive second-half display against Hastings on Tuesday night.

Bay came from behind to earn a point in the 1-1 draw at Winch’s Field, thanks to Stuart Zanone’s first goal for the club, having trailed to what boss Denly felt was a dubious penalty award.

Hythe manager Sam Denly Picture: Tony Flashman
Hythe manager Sam Denly Picture: Tony Flashman

He said: “I was pleased at the end, I thought we were outstanding and it was one of the most one-sided second-half encounters I have ever seen.

“We were camped in their half, hit the post and did everything but score.”

Denly’s reaction was in sharp contrast to that after the Ryman League Division 1 South opening day 1-1 draw at Tooting on Saturday.

It led to him making changes against Hastings, bringing Nathan Eastwood out of his short-term retirement and drafting in untried defender Kenny Sanders at left back – older brother of fellow defender Connor – who at 29 is an over-age player in the club’s under-21’s


Denly said: “I thought we looked a little bit fragile defensively at Tooting, so Nathan came in at centre half.

“Kenny is not tried and tested at this level but I was pretty confident about him and he was excellent.”

He added: “I had a few harsh words with the boys after the Tooting game because I didn’t think we were good enough and expected better. To get that response against Hastings was pleasing. The boys have set their own standards and must keep them.”

“We weren’t at it in the first half, had two one-on-ones in the second half and have to be more ruthless and clinical.”

One blow for Bay is the news that defender Gary Sayer is sidelined with a knee injury.

Denly said: “It could be ligament trouble. He is having treatment from an osteopath but we could be without him for six weeks minimum.”

Bay face league rivals East Grinstead in the preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday (3pm)

The West Sussex side have lost both their opening games, and Denly said: “We raise our game against teams like Hastings but it’s important to do the same against Grinstead, who will come looking to kick start their season.”

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