THAME United manager Mark West has praised his side after they battled to a 1-1 draw against League One side Oxford United in front of 650 fans.
Only a last minute goal by Tom Craddock stopped them from causing a memorable upset and West argued they were unlucky not to win.
He said: “Oxford sent a team full of professionals and we went out there with a game plan not to push and chase so we sat back, soaked up the pressure and had as many shots as them in first half and on another day could have been two up.
“Then in the second half we deservedly took the lead but we made seven or eight subs which changed it a little.
“After that we were defending and in the end they got one back but I was really proud of the lads and how they performed in front of the large crowd.
“It was really pleasing to see all the lads perform well and defend well and we created some good chances.
“Like I said last week, the performances at the moment are really good and even if we don’t get the wins, the performances have all been good.”
West now hopes that his team’s show on Monday night will encourage some of the large crowd back as regulars as they aim to build on the 150 or so who came to every home match last season.
He said: “I think when people come down and see what we have here they are impressed. Hopefully some people will now think that if Oxford or perhaps Wycombe aren’t playing then maybe they can come down to Thame and support their local club – they are the sort of fans that we really need to appeal to.”
Thame have two more pre-season matches remaining before their league campaign starts next weekend.
First up is a tough match against Slough Town on Saturday before they entertain conference side Hayes and Yeading on Tuesday.
Both are from higher leagues than Thame and will be a stern test for West’s side.
“Every game we play is tough,” West said. “Slough will be a real tough one where we will be looking towards playing our first team for the first 70 or 80 minutes then against Hayes we will probably give everyone 45 minutes so they are prepared for the start the following Saturday.
“Slough are obviously a physical side but I am sure we will be able to match them as we need to be able to play against all types of teams.
“I am sure we be able to keep up with them and continue our good pre-season form. We haven’t always won the games but we have performed really well and if we can play like this when the season starts then there will be no problem with us winning the first game.”