BURNHAM manager Paul Shone has praised the character of his side after they beat Holyport 4-2 on the opening day of the season.

Both Ashley Watson and Lucas Sinclair found the net twice to ensure the Blues got their Hellenic Division One East campaign off to a good start at The Gore, and Shone was full of praise for his side’s winning mentality.

He told the Observer: “It’s very good and pleasing to get off to a winning start.

“We were not at our best in the first-half but much better in the second, and our fitness told as well.

“We’re still a work in progress and gelling together as a group, so to respond like we did is very pleasing.

“The season is not won and lost on the opening day but it helps to build that continuity and winning mentality as a new team.”

Shone singled out some of the younger members of his squad for praise, but he was equally as impressed with opposition Holyport, who he is backing to have an impressive season.

He explained: “We didn’t get off to the best of starts but our character in the second-half was very good to see.

“Some of the younger players stepped up mentally and dealt with the situation as well.

“I was impressed with Holyport and they will be up and around the top as well.”

Burnham now turn their focus on this weekend’s FA Cup extra preliminary round clash away at Premier Division club Abingdon United.

Shone has his side prepared to face the side in the league above, but he expects the game to be a real test of his their skills.

He said: “We’ve had Abingdon United watched twice so we know what they are about and will go with a game plan.

“There’s no pressure on us because we’ve everything to gain and nothing to lose. It’s a free hit for us and we will go at full strength, no-one is getting a rest.

“It would be great to progress and get some money into the club.

“Abingdon will be coming into the game on the back of two defeats so might think they’ve got to stand up a deliver, but if we can take the lead early on they might crumble like in earlier games.

“We will set our stall out early and know what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

Burnham return to action in Division One East with a visit to The Gore from Thame Rangers on Saturday, August 18.

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