MANAGER John Coleman hailed Michael Liddle on his return to the side in last Sunday's FA Cup draw at Notts County.
The 24-year-old left-back started the first game of the season but has been out since, battling to recover from a niggling knee injury.
“We did really well defensively, you’ve got to take your hat off to the lads,” said Coleman.
“I thought Michael Liddle, on his comeback, was magnificent. I thought he was clearly man of the match.
“I think that’s testament to his character and the hard work he’s put in while he’s been out.
“People don’t see that, him working hard on his own and working in the gym on his own.
“Anthony Barry’s the same. He’s in the gym every day, trying his best to get fit, and Lidds is a shining example to players who are injured – the fact he’s come through and had such a good performance.
“That’s what we’re trying to create here: a togetherness and a work ethic so that people inspire each other.”
Coleman was forced into four changes, with Liddle coming in with Josh Windass, James Gray and new loan signing Jack Rose in goal.
“It is difficult making changes but you wouldn’t have a squad if you weren’t prepared to cope with those changes,” said the Reds’ boss.
“The lads that came in handled themselves well, we just seemed to be missing that spark going forward, and that’s what I want. I want us to score goals and entertain.
“I can’t be too disappointed because I know how hard we worked but I like my teams to attack, I like them to be a threat, and I don’t think we were too much of a threat.
“The longer the game went on I think both teams didn’t want to lose it rather than go and win it,” Coleman added.
“When you get that it becomes bogged down in midfield.
“We had a couple of half-chances where we mis-controlled the ball in the box and then Joycey (captain Luke Joyce) decided to play Gaelic football from the one chance he got!”