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Club News

Sam Ricketts Post Portsmouth

3 August 2019

Town started their 2019/20 Sky Bet League One campaign with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth.

Pompey are one of the favourites for promotion this season and they showed their quality over the 90 minutes.

Town stood up to the test and over the 90 minutes probably had the better chances to score. Portsmouth will though be ruing a couple of great late chances though that Town were pleased to watch miss the target.

The all-important goal came on 68 minutes, Shaun Whalley played the ball square to Ryan Giles who took a touch and then smashed in a wonderful 30-yard shot that flew into the top corner.

After the game Town manager, Sam Ricketts spoke to the press to give his views on the game.

"It was a very satisfying game, a hard game but an excellent win and a perfect start for us", said Sam.

"I'm delighted with that but there is still an awful lot to work on but the team didn't lack determination, effort, bodies on the line and they gave everything.

"Then one moment of magic wins us the game."

Giles strike was so good Sam was asked if it was something that they had practised on in training.

"No it wasn't to be fair, I think even I was expecting a cross into the box", said Sam.

"What you try and do is give the players templates but then you want them to express themselves and take ownership on the pitch.

"I want a good group of players who can react to what goes on on the pitch.

"If they do something like that each week we will all be going home very happy."

It was Ryan Giles league debut today and Sam was impressed with what he saw, but he's keeping Gilo's feet firmly on the ground.

"Ryan has had a lot said about him but he has to prove it now", said Sam.

"I thought he his overall game was good but that special moment that some players do have was the defining moment of the game."

The other big plus from the game was the clean sheet against a side with such good attacking options. It was the reward for a lot of hard work that Town have been showing on the training pitch.

"Behind winning the game keeping a clean sheet is next most pleasing thing", said Sam.

"We have worked incredibly hard on the defensive shape and being organised.

"Everyone knows their jobs and it's been an awful lot of hard work put in by everyone in the sessions for the players.

"We haven't kept a clean sheet over pre-season so to get one today really speaks volumes.

"Max O'Leary didn't really have to make many saves, he dealt crosses well but he was well protected."

Abo Eisa came on as a late substitute but he didn't last too long out on the pitch. He took a ball straight in the face and the medical team and Sam decided not to let him continue.

"Eisa took a ball in the face, it was unbelievable, we make a change and then within in minutes we are down to 10 men as well", said Sam.

"I think we had to do what was right for him when the ball hit him in the face he ended up being dizzy for a few seconds.

"With the protocol now as much as Eisa wanted to go back on myself and the medical team have to make the decision to look after the player, so we made sure he didn't go back on the pitch."

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