Helston Athletic manager Matt Cusack said that his side's 1-1 pre-season draw with Teignmouth gave him 'some things to think about' ahead of the new Western League season which kicks off this Saturday.

Athletic were a goal down via a first half penalty from the South West Peninsula League East side but salvaged a draw with a clinically taken header in the 89th from Rikki Shepherd, who is one of seven new acquisitions at the club.

Read next: REPORT: Shepherd salvages draw for Helston in gaffer's first home match

Giving his assessment on the match Cusack said: "Obviously there are areas to improve, I have just said to the players if you can't win a game of football it is important, you don't lose it.

"That is what we will take away from today. We were certainly in the ascendency late on and probably deserved an equaliser to be fair.

"I didn't think there was much between the sides in the game, credit to them they have had a good pre-season they beat Willand the other week.

"They moved the ball really well and caused us problems at times. I am a little bit disappointed on a personal level I felt that we got into some really good positions and areas that we have spoken about and worked on but lacked that bit of quality coming into the box. But when we did deliver that quality we got our equaliser."

You can watch the full interview on Packet Sport TV here:

Helston were without a number of first team regulars through injury and illness but the manager was delighted with the way the young duo of Rocco Hill (16) and Jude Tripconey (17) stepped up to the plate.

He said: "Certainly there are positives to take away, we had young Rocco Hill, he is just a 16 year-old, playing central midfield today, then young Jude Tripconey came on. They caused problems. I've said to him (Tripconey) go on, break lines, take people on, commit defenders and he did all those things and more. I was really impressed with him.

"We had some tired legs out there as well, we had one eye on that. We played late on Thursday night, that's a quick turn round for today. We lost two this morning through illness with Isaac Burdon and Tyler Elliot, both experienced players.

"The squad was a little bit thinner than I'd have liked it to have been. I'd have liked a couple more bodies to help with the minutes and the congestion from the quick turnaround but it wasn't to be.

"We have got out of it what we had to and didn't pick up any injuries which is always a bonus at this time of year ahead of next week.

"All in all I am delighted we didn't lose the game and we have some things to think about ahead of next week."

Cusack was also pleased to see Shepherd score his first goal in Helston colours, the former Millbrook man scored 23 goals in league 28 appearances last season for his former side and his current gaffer hopes that this could be the first of many for the talisman. He said: "That's what he is here for, Rik is off the mark now, that is what all strikers want whether they are at a club or just move to a club they want to get off the mark as soon as possible in pre-season.

"It is about forming good habits we have said that all along to get into good habits for the new season. Rikki's got his goal now so hopefully he can kick on now and get many more."

Helston begin their 2022/23 season at home to Bridgwater United on Saturday, July 30 with kick off against the Somerset outfit at 3pm.

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