Adam Murray admits his battle-hardened squad needed tin helmets to repel a late Chorley onslaught in their FA Cup clash on Saturday.
The Boston United boss delivered a glowing report on his squad after watching them hold the promotion-chasing Magpies to a 0-0 draw despite being reduced to ten men.
The performance ensures Boston will be in the hat for Monday’s FA Cup draw for the first round proper and will face a home replay on Tuesday night at the Jakemans Stadium.
Murray, whose side sit just one place above the relegation places in National League North, says the display against Chorley shows his new-look side is close to finding their feet.
“We’ve gutted the club this summer so it’s a blank canvas,” said Murray. “We’re having one and a half sessions with the lads per week and it takes time to put new things in place.
“I thought they were outstanding. If I could click my fingers and be six months down the line, I believe we will be in a much healthier place. Unfortunately I can’t do that so sometimes you have to get your tin helmets on.
“Our actual team shape and structure we’ve been really happy with, and the way we’ve defended. We dealt with our set plays really well today and as a team we looked organised and solid.”
The Pilgrims matched their higher-placed opponents until they were reduced to ten men, with Jan Yeomans seeing red on 72 minutes.
But Boston held out to stay in the draw which will take place on Monday. The FA Cup first round proper sees Football League clubs entering the competition and Murray is eyeing a big home draw – something he says will offer a huge incentive to both teams in Tuesday night’s replay.
“We’ll be back at our place for the replay and we’ve beaten them once at home already,” added Murray. “On a Tuesday night it is obviously a long travel for them. We’re at home and we’ve not been bad at home.
“Then we have got our fans. Our support is immense and they were immense again at Chorley. When I walked into the changing rooms, the lads said honestly, they pulled us over the line. It was a very heavy pitch and we were down to ten men and I think that was the plug they gave us in the last twenty minutes especially to drag us over the line.
“I’d like somebody really big in the draw who can make us loads of money. Mansfield would be interesting – but we’ve got to take Tuesday first. It will be nice for both clubs on Tuesday – we’re both in the same league and there’s mutual respect there, but the draw is a big incentive for both teams.”