IN the summer we were promised attacking, entertaining football. On Saturday, we got the first full instalment.

Against Farsley, we got a second half performance. Against Gateshead, we were pressed to within an inch of our lives meaning we had a 20-minute showing as the Heed tired. Against Kettering, we got the full show from start to finish. Driving runs, neat interchanges, plenty of hustle. We made our quality count against a side who couldn’t match our levels.

Pre-game, the focus was on how we would cope with the loss of Luke Trotman to injury. Would we change formation? Who would slot in on the right of the defence? As it was, the switch from left-back to right-back by Michael Liddle was seamless. No need to mess around with a formula Alun seems happy with.

While our squad isn’t massive, we have the luxury this season of players who can come in off the bench and make an impact. Jordan Watson did just that at left back. Last season, Trotman’s injury would have led to all sorts of chaos with more players having to be shifted around in order to accommodate a senior player coming in off the bench. This season, a combination of our squad’s flexibility and our ability to call upon a specialist full back from the bench meant we could deal with it.

In midfield, Alun made a change with Osagi Bascome coming in for Omar Holness and this turned out to be a masterstroke. For me, Holness and Will Hatfield are very similar. Both players want to cover every blade of grass. They will both happily chase the ball around all day but that means they need a player to sit in behind them. David Atkinson has been brought in to do that job, but with him being injured, Alun opted to give Bascome a run and the lad didn’t disappoint.

I’ll be the first one to hold my hands up and say I wrote the lad off after a pretty dubious showing at Stockport. However, he has come back with a vengeance and I’m pleased for him. In the summer, I watched one of his Gold Cup games for Bermuda versus Haiti with him play in a deep playmaking role. I thought then if he could replicate this for Darlo, he could be a real asset. On Saturday, he showed it.

He made himself constantly available to the defence for an out-ball, something we didn’t really have against Gateshead, and he showed a lovely range of passing. It might turn out to be the case that we have the Bermudan Pirlo on our hands.

Meanwhile, ahead of the midfield, our front four buzzed like a bunch of angry wasps. Their movement with and without the ball was wonderful to watch. While Kettering weren’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, I can imagine a lot of sides struggling to contain our attacking unit. The really positive thing is they seem to be still warming up and finding their collective rhythm. Once they are fully tuned in to each other’s wavelengths, I can see a few sides being put to the sword.

If there was one negative for the afternoon, it was the loss of 400 Darlo fans from the attendance on Wednesday. They missed a real treat. If we can spread the word and maybe get a positive result at Curzon Ashton on Monday, some of those who turned up on Wednesday but not Saturday will hopefully come along and give it another go. Saturday’s performance deserved a better crowd.