Pinchbeck's keeper praises 'togetherness' of squad, despite tough start to season
Pinchbeck United goalkeeper Ben Martin admitted it was a "no-brainer" to rejoin the club where he enjoyed promotion and cup success in a two-year spell.
The 26-year-old shot stopper was part of the Knights' squad that lifted the ChromaSport & Trophies President's Shield two years running, in 2016 and 2017, as well as coming third in the Peterborough & District League (PDFL) Premier Division four years ago.
A year later, the Knights were promoted to Uhlsport United Counties League (UCL) Division One and Martin spent the first half of the 2017-18 season helping the Knights to a storming title win under ex-manager Ian Dunn, losing just two of their 38 league games.
Martin, whose first spell at Pinchbeck ended when he went to work as a teaching assistant in Oxfordshire three years ago, said: "I knew I was coming back home to live in Lincolnshire and so I messaged Ian to see what his plans were for the season.
"I'd enjoyed my time at the club when we were in the PDFL Premier Division and UCL Division One so it was a no-brainer to come back.
"I'd seen that Ross Woolley (the Knights' goalkeeper last season) had gone back to Lincoln City so I went in for pre-season training and got selected for the first pre-season game at Wisbech Town.
"I had a really good game and Pinchbeck United chairman Gary Coomes said he wanted me to be his number one keeper this season."
Martin has shown plenty of the form that previously earned him a football scholarship to the USA, turning in a man-of-the-match performance for Pinchbeck in their 4-0 loss to St Neots Town in the Emirates FACup extra preliminary round last Wednesday.
"The FA Cup draw wasn't kind to us, but we can take something from our second half performance where we let in just the one goal," Martin said.
"It was just the first half performance that wasn't good, even though I think that I did well in the St Neots' game."
Things got even worse for Martin and the Knights last Saturday when their first UCL Premier Division game of the 2020-21 season ended in a 6-0 thrashing by Rugby Town, five of the goals coming in the first half.
"Football is a results business and letting in ten goals in two games looks bad," Martin said.
"It's a shame how we've started the season, but our first two games have been really difficult and we've got a young coach in Alfie Tate who is starting his UCL Premier Division managerial career.
"But everybody respects himand we listen to him in the dressing room where we have a real togetherness in the squad."
The Knights go to Wellingborough Town in the league on Saturday after their game at Sleaford Town on Wednesday was postponed due to a Greens' player testing positive for COVID-19.
Martin said: "We just need to improve on last season and although the budget here isn't as big as other teams in the league, I think we've got a better squad this year than we had last year."