THE start of a new season always brings eternal optimism for football supporters.

Everyone starts on a level playing field, on zero points, and we all believe our side can have a successful season.

Ahead of the first game of the season last weekend, optimism was high at Wincham Park.

But, sadly, that positivity was deflated somewhat following a disappointing display and a 2-0 defeat at the hands of a very tidy Whitby Town side.

I’m not sure what went wrong. Pre-season preparations had been good and performances in the friendlies leading up to this game were good. There were no suggestions as to what happened last Saturday.

We put it down to a bad day at the office, because we know this group of players is much better than what they showed.

I remain confident that we can enjoy a good campaign and that the squad will perform much better in the coming weeks, but last weekend was disappointing.

At the time of writing, we were preparing for our First Qualifying Round tie in the FA Cup away at Whitley Bay (tonight, Tuesday, restricted to 300 fans*).

It seems rather bizarre that we have to travel all the way to the North East in midweek for this tie, especially given the times we are in.

You’d think they would want to keep journeys as short as possible, but there we go.

Remember, these players are part-time and semi-professional, with other jobs outside of football, and that will be affected by these away matches during the week, taking time off in order to travel and play.

Hopefully, given the long trip and sacrifices made to get up there, we come away with a win and have our name in the hat for the Second Qualifying Round.

The games are coming thick and fast and we travel to Radcliffe FC on Saturday in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Boro started the season with a defeat too, a 4-2 loss away at Buxton, so both sides will be looking for their first points of the league campaign.

It will be a tough encounter, but if the lads play as well as we know they can, then they’ll give themselves a good opportunity to pick up three points.

*Editor's note: Tonight's game between Whitley Bay and Witton Albion is not being played behind closed doors as previously added to Paul's column by the sports editor. Capacity is restricted to 300. Information had been taken from the Northern Premier League website fixture list, as per below which is incorrect

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