MARK Ashford was glad that his Witham Town players saw immediate positive benefits of the coaching work they had done during their day off from Bostik League division north action last weekend.

Town triumphed 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out against Grays Athletic to make progress in the League Cup on Tuesday, but it was their display over the initial 90 minutes – that ended in a 0-0 draw – that was particularly pleasing for the Witham manager.

With his team not having a league game last weekend, Ashford had brought them in for a coaching session where videos of recent games were analysed and he was happy to see how his players responded.

Ashford felt the performance against Grays was possibly his team’s best of the season and he is challenging them to press on again when they head to Dereham Town in division north on Saturday.

He said: “I said to the players before the game that the performance was more important to me than the result.

“Without diminishing the League Cup, I wanted to see a big upsurge in our own performance.

“I wanted to see a big improvement in our intensity.

“We had had a session with the players on Saturday when we didn’t have a game and we were able to do some video analysis with them.

“We spent two hours reviewing things, showing the players footage and showing where things had been going wrong and the consequences of what they had been doing.

“Young players don’t always see the consequences; they are the little things and it was a very worthwhile session as I thought the players responded against Grays.

“That’s what you want to see.

“The feedback we had from the group from that session was excellent.

“I think some of them had never had anybody do that type of coaching analysis with them before and they really enjoyed it.

“They got a lot out of it and we saw the fruits of it against Grays where they had a great awareness of the game.

“The challenge now for them is can they do it again.

“The last time we did this – in the FA Cup at Coggeshall – we dipped off in the next game, but can they repeat it after a two-hour trip against a good Dereham side on Saturday.

“Regardless of the result, can they repeat the intensity?

“That’s the challenge now and if they can then it’s another stepping stone for us and will show they are learning quickly.

“They need to show the progression; they are obviously talented and if they are learning from their experiences then their talent will come through.”

Jack Isherwood will be assessed ahead of the trip to Dereham after suffering a facial injury against Grays Athletic.

However, Andrew Tirinvanhu is out after having an operation this week to fix a fractured cheekbone suffered in the league defeat by Coggeshall Town last month and Pat Ahern is still struggling with an ankle problem.