BARNOLDSWICK Town manager Endrit Shehu could not have been prouder of his players after his side's dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Squires Gate at home on Saturday.

It would have been a good win under normal circumstances, but even more so given Barlick were unable to even train for two weeks due to a player testing positive for coronavirus.

That meant they had to miss the start of their North West Counties League Premier Division campaign, and this was their first game back.

After a rotten start, which saw Town 2-0 down after 26 minutes, they roared back to lead 3-2 by the break, thanks to goals from Zack Dale, Alex Ralph and Gareth Hill.

Despite understandably tiring towards the end, they held on for an excellent three points.

Shehu said: "At 2-0 down early on, you start thinking it's going to be a long game.

"But we got that first goal back quickly and that was the key moment I think in us turning it around.

"For me, I felt there was only one team going to win it from there, and some of our goals were outstanding."

The pick of the bunch was probably Ralph's screamer, which levelled the game up.

Discussing the midfielder, Shehu said: "It's Ralphy's second season with us and we all know he's got loads of pace and a cracking left foot.

"But he wasn't scoring before. He'd be taking nice touches in and around the box and then crossing the ball in.

"So we told him he needed to be more selfish and test the keeper, which is what he did on Saturday."

After all the attacking excitement before the break, it was a much different second half, with defending a lead even harder than usual for Barlick.

Shehu said: "We had to work very hard in the last 45 minutes, but we gave it our all and showed big heart.

"Physically, we were not at our best, as we'd had no training for two weeks not long beforehand."

Talking about the impact of coronavirus on his own club and the league in general, Shehu said: "Unfortunately it's something that's going to happen week in, week out, where we see games get called off."

It could have gotten even worse yesterday. The Liverpool City Region was placed in Tier Three of lockdown restrictions, the strictest of all.

Several teams in the North West Counties League play their football in the region, and there was some talk that non-professional sport may have to stop in areas where Tier Three restrictions are in place.

But that is not the case, and Shehu said: "We were nervous about the league potentially shutting down.

"From a footballing point of view too, when you've won, you don't want breaks, you want to keep up that momentum."

Barlick will have to do well to get another three points tonight though. They host 1874 Northwich, who were eight points clear at the top when the 2019/20 season was declared null and void.

But Shehu feels his side have reason to be confident, saying: "Our last game before the shutdown in March was away to them and we got a 0-0 draw.

"They've also lost a couple of key men since then. In football, it's about how you see yourself too, and we're very high on confidence after the win over Squires Gate.

"But we have to examine Northwich properly and we'll need a different approach to the one we had at the weekend. We'll certainly give it a go though."

That is followed by a game at Winsford United this Saturday.

Discussing the challenges that will face his Barnoldswick side in their first away game of the season, Shehu said: "Winsford are always a tough team to play.

"We didn't get to play them away last season, as it was cancelled due to bad weather, and we had a narrow 2-1 home win over them.

"We won our first game and gave that one a good go, so we've just got to keep it up and take it game by game, with an individual gameplan for each one.

"We'll see who's available for Saturday after tonight too.

"At the end of the day, every game we play, we want to win, and with the mix of experience and young talent we have at the club, it's an exciting time."