WENDRON United manager Jack Greenwood praised the way his team fought back to earn a point in their opening South West Peninsula League game of the season at St Austell on Saturday.

With the two sides not having faced each other in the shortened 2019/20 season, they looked keen to make up for lost time by sharing six goals in a breathless first 45 minutes at Poltair Park.

Chris Kilbey’s penalty and Cam Bidgood’s strike inside the first seven minutes gave the youthful Lillywhites the dream start to their new season under successful former reserve team manager Mark Smith, and left Greenwood with plenty of thinking to do early on.

“I don’t know if we necessary started really badly, we just didn’t start on the front foot,” he said. “They were everything I said to the lads they would be in terms of fit and energetic and hungry. They flew out of the traps and we just ambled out.”

After giving away an early penalty and witnessing Bidgood’s fine finish into the top corner after just seven minutes, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was not going to be an opening day to remember for Wendron.

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But Greenwood made good use of a handy break in play to relay a few messages to his team and relax his players, reminding them that time was very much on their side.

That seemed to work as Scott Palmer soon halved the deficit, only for Harvey Hann to make it 3-1, but Cameron Wheat struck twice to level the scores before half time.

He said: “Once that second goal went in and we put a few nice passages of play together and, quite conveniently, someone went down injured and the lads came in, we had a quick chat and I just said to them: ‘Look, you’ve literally got 78 minutes left to try and turn this around, we just need to be calm and relaxed.’

“I called a few people out on some things that weren’t great individually, and to be fair to the lads they scored a really good goal. We then gave away another sloppy goal and got two more before half time.

“As the half went on, we were definitely the better side and were pushing and the third goal was inevitable.”

Wheat made the headlines with his two goals on his second debut for the club after re-joining the club last week from Helston Athletic, doubling his goal tally for the 2019/20 season in the process.

But it was team-mate Kian Thomas that pleased Greenwood the most, with the young winger grabbing a hat-trick of assists and looking threatening throughout.

“Cam’s two goals, whilst he took them well and had to be in the right place, they were both put on a plate for him by Kian and Cam would agree with that,” Greenwood said. “Kian’s three assists were the highlight of the game without doubt.”

He added: “I think he knows that we’ve trusted him and we’ve given him a platform to play and he knows that we’re going to be loyal to him, and I think that’s evident with a lot of the younger players we’ve had.

“He’s worked incredibly hard during lockdown. He’s come back stronger and fitter, he’s one of the fittest lads in the team and he’s added a bit of end product.

“Ironically Mike [O’Neill, assistant manager] said to me that Kian needs to start working on his weaker foot and showing defenders down the line, and then of course about a minute later he shows the defender down the line, crosses it with his right foot and then we score from that, and then ten minutes later he did exactly the same.

“He was a constant threat and he did very well, but I did point out to him that he’s set the standard now and he can’t afford to let it drop below there. There’s no point doing it on the first game of the season and then not doing it for another ten, so he’s still got a long way to go.”