SEDGLEY Park general manager Geoff Roberts heaped praise on his young side after they saw out victory after another bruising National Two North encounter at Preston Grasshoppers.

After a succession of notable injuries in the first few matches of their season, it was already a depleted squad that made the short trip last weekend.

And they picked up more knocks during the 36-31 win with Ben Black suffering a broken nose in a collision of heads and being forced off and the experienced Jimmy Lloyd damaging a bicep.

It left an even more inexperienced side to see out the game after they had led 26-7 before the double injury blow.

Dan Maher picked up a hat-trick of tries while Max Ashcroft and Oliver Glasse also crossed the whitewash, the latter also kicking four conversions and a penalty.

And while Roberts admitted it was largely a case of backs to the wall in the second period, he was pleased with the stubborn defending and character of his team.

Roberts said: “We already had several out going up to Preston and another debutant, Zack Sargent, coming into the second row.

“We did okay to get to 26-7 in front but then Ben Black broke his nose in a clash of heads an that was the end of his game.

“Then Jimmy Lloyd, who was one of the few experienced heads in the team damaged his bicep.

“After that we were a little lightweight and I honestly thought it would be a case of damage limitation as Preston took advantage.

“We were getting bullied in the scrum against a much heavier pack and they laid siege to our line.

“But we defended heroically and a second-half try from Dan Maher got us back in front and sealed it for us.

“Taking everything the lads had to go through into consideration, they did a great job.”

The win sees Sedgley in fifth place in the early table just three points off top spot – something Roberts says is commendable after a succession of injuries.

He added: “We are missing 12 regulars at the minute which means we have a lot of inexperience in the side and an inbalance which is not easy to deal with.

“We already have Bob Birtwell out until November after dislocating a shoulder at the end of last season and we lost Ashley Platt with a broken hand in the first game.

“Then, even though we had an impressive win against Otley in the third outing after a last-gasp defeat at Wharfedale, we lost more to injury with a chipped collarbone to the number eight, concussion to the scrum-half, a sprained ankle and another broken hand.

“It has put a lot of pressure on the squad because they are not just small knocks.

“We face Macclesfield this weekend and hopefully we will have usual kicker Steve Collins back for his first appearance of the season after he dislocated a toe in a pre-season friendly.

“Alex Powell, who had a back problem should be back to boost the second row as well.

“It’s not easy but fair play to everyone who is digging in to help at the minute.

“When more come back we will be a lot stronger and that can only help us push up the table.”