WHILE the end result was disappointing, manager Marc Benterman was very happy with what he considered to be a “very worthwhile exercise” in Witham Town’s Velocity Trophy opener against Great Wakering Rovers.

Three goals in the 15 minutes before half-time saw Great Wakering inflict a 3-0 defeat as Witham had their first outing in the group stages of this year’s Isthmian League Cup competition.

Although the second half was goalless, Wakering were clearly the dominant side in the first half, but Benterman looked beyond the result to see the benefits for his team.

He chose to make nine changes from the side that had started their FA Cup tie at Stamford on Saturday to rest players and was pleased to give valuable experience to other members of his squad.

Benterman said: “We have a target this year, which is to stay in the league and to achieve that, you have to know where you are and where you have to get to.

“The boys were fantastic in the FA Cup on Saturday, but we have to look at the bigger picture and there is another group of boys behind them who are very talented.

“We made nine changes from Saturday and I think, on reflection, it was a very worthwhile exercise.

“We had two full-backs who were under-23s, Lewis Payne came back from injury and was outstanding as a captain and leader and then there was Ryan Ramsey who looked very lively for the whole duration of the game.

“We don’t want to lose and Great Wakering came with a pretty much full-strength side, but on reflection, we conducted ourselves in a manner that I was very pleased with.

“I thought we edged it in the second half and although it didn’t come, I thought we deserved a goal and there are now more headaches for me because we have a group who are very competitive.

“People might look at the result from the outside, but regardless of the result, I’m very pleased with the outcome.

“The only people who matter are in the club and they know what we are about, where we are going and where we’ve come from.

“Look at how strong our squad is with the changes we made against Great Wakering and it’s remarkable what we’ve done so far.

“There are always pluses and negatives and you’ll always get people outside the club who may say ‘oh, it’s another defeat’ but we have had eight games and only lost four now.

“We now have massive league games on Saturday and Tuesday and we’ll be judged after them if the exercise we did against Great Wakering was the right one to do.”

Benterman said no players had been left out due to injury and the ones who featured last weekend would be back in the mix for places when they headed to Histon in BetVictor Isthmian League division north on Saturday and then hosted Romford at the Simarco Stadium on Tuesday.

“The boys were left out because of the schedule that we’ve had,” added Benterman.

“We’ve had the FA Cup replay over 120 minutes last week and then went to Stamford where I thought we were outstanding.

“So we thought we’d give the boys a night off against Great Wakering if we felt they needed it.

“Chris Taylor, Liam Whipps, Charlie Barlow, Ollie Bell, Shami Pedulu – the list goes on and on.

“We left them out to keep them fresh and hopefully that will have been the right decision come Saturday.

“Sometimes, as a manager, you have to look at the bigger picture.

“We are a community club who want to promote from within and we’ve had four boys make their debuts in a first-team situation (against Great Wakering).

“So from a club point of view, we could not ask any more of that and it was a positive exercise.

“You obviously want to win games but it’s the group stages (of the Velocity Trophy).

“I said when I took over to the club that I’d use the group stages to benefit us; not the fans or anyone else outside the club, we have to use it for us as a pathway through for players.

“We did that, it’s served its purpose and as an exercise, it’s been excellent for us.

“I know it’s a results industry, but we’re using these games for a purpose and we’re stronger for it.

“They are all positives for me.”