There was a first start of the season for Liam Paddock on Saturday when Malvern Town overcame the challenge of Tytherington Rocks to go back to the top of the Division One West table courtesy of a 2-0 win in difficult conditions.
Paddock returned to the club after almost a decade away during the summer and has worked hard throughout pre-season to be ready for his chance.
“I am chuffed to be back at the club at such an exciting time,” he said. “It was great to get a starting place; it was a bit of an unfamiliar position for me on the left-hand side and as such it took me a little while to settle, but once I did, I enjoyed it. I managed to get in a few robust tackles and talked well – my two main attributes – it’s just a pity that I picked up a niggle which eventually forced me off just as I was really starting to enjoy it. After defeat in our previous game, it was crucial that we drew a line under it and returned to winning ways. We managed to do it in what we were really tough conditions; we know that we will have more fluent performances but we won the battle and also kept a clean sheet, which as a defender is always pleasing."
“Now we have to be ready for the next game at Wellington on Tuesday. Any midweek game is going to be a challenge, we saw that at Thornbury, but I’m confident that if we perform to the levels that we know we are capable of, we can get a result against anyone in this League.”
Having worked his way through the ranks here earlier in his career, he then set out on a Stateside adventure. “The opportunities that I had here at the club between 2007 and 2009 set me up for my move to the US where I went on a ‘soccer’ scholarship and had four really successful years with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). After leaving there I had trials both in America and the UK but things didn’t quite work out so I prioritised work and business from the age of 25 and have dipped in and out of the game over the past five years or so, which I’ve spent based in London. Moving back to Bristol, it was Phil Harris who brought me back here in the summer. I couldn’t believe the set-up that we have now. The facilities and professionalism is fantastic; it’s such an exciting project and I knew straight away that I wanted to be part of it. I have always kept an eye on the fortunes of the club and I am pleased that it’s worked out that I have been able to return to help us reach the next level. Hopefully I can contribute on and off-the-pitch. I know that I have plenty to offer, but it will take time for me to get back to my level."
“I’m taking it day-by-day and I’d like to think that my experience can help push the lads in each training session and match. I want to support and lead the younger lads. Obviously our target is promotion, but we don’t want to stop there – the foundations are in place to achieve so much.”
Dene Whittal-Williams was a happy man after seeing his side get straight back into winning ways against Tytherington Rocks. Goals from Joe Bates and Adam Sauntson secured us the points in a 2-0 triumph.
“We knew that we were coming up against a tough outfit who would be hard to break down,” he admitted. “The conditions didn’t help matters but we went out there and gave it a right good go. It was all about responding to Tuesday’s defeat in the right way and we did that. We were positive, worked hard and kept a clean sheet on our way to the three points. We were really chuffed to come out of this one with a win and now we get ready for a huge game at Wellington this coming Tuesday."
“The lads will need to be switched on and prepare properly over the next few days so that we can go there and add to our points tally.”