Littlehampton Town Football Club boss Ady Baker says he took plenty of positives despite losing his first game in charge on Sunday.
Golds fell to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of rivals and fellow Southern Combination League Premier Division side Pagham in an extra-preliminary round encounter.
Strikes in the opening half from Scott Murfin and Kieron Pamment put Pagham firmly in control before a brief wobble in the second period.
Ben Gray got one back on 65 minutes before Jack Cole struck the crossbar soon afterwards as Littlehampton got back into it.
Despite that gained confidence, substitute Rob Brown headed home eight minutes from time to ensure a winning return for former Golds boss Mark Bennett.
With six debutants starting, Baker felt he saw enough in patches to take some positives from.
He said: “I felt in the first half we were really slow to react and did not play to our game plan whatsoever.
“In the second, we went out, showed a lot more urgency and could well have got back into it.
“We made a few mistakes over the course of the game but it’s work in progress and we want to keep improving as a team.”
Baker cited a ten minute spell after Gray’s goal as the level his side can potentially reach over the course of the campaign.
He added: “If Jack Cole’s header goes in, then it is a totally different game and you never know what can happen.
“They would have been on the backfoot and struggling in those final stages.
“We were in the ascendancy for that spell, we put three up top and decided to really have a go at them.
“At the end of the day, the quality that they have shone through, I’m not going to mask over that but our second half display gives me something to work from.”
Pagham are tipped by many to do well this season and Baker believes they will be up there come the end of the season.
Golds begin their Southern Combination League Premier Division campaign with a trip to Broadbridge Heath on Saturday.
Baker knows his side will not face the same quality of player in that one and is hopeful of a positive start.
He said: “Only four or five of these players have played together before, so we are still a work in progress.
“It’s going to take time for us to develop as a team but from that first game I’ll take more positives than negatives.
“Hopefully Broadbridge won’t be as strong as what Pagham were but we’ll just wait and see. Even in this one against Pagham, with the players they have got, experience and quality, I thought we battled well.
“I was particularly impressed with both Marshall Ball and Jordan Farrell when they came on, they are young lads but both looked good.”
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