ROB Small was encouraged to see Bowers & Pitsea record a 1-1 draw against Wingate & Finchley despite looking 'dead and buried' at half-time.

Although Olumide Oluwatimilehin gave Wingate a first half lead, David Knight converted a Brad Warner cutback to ensure Bowers would seal a point on the opening day of the Isthmian Premier League season.

And Small feels his side can take confidence from their first ever clash in the third tier of non-league football.

The Bowers boss said: "I was really disappointed with our first half performance.

"I thought we showed Wingate too much respect and we looked a shadow of the team that ran away with the Isthmian North last season.

"But we grew into the game and I felt like there was only one team going to win it in the second half.

"We came on stronger, our use of the ball was better and some of our quality started coming to the fore.

"We scored a brilliant goal. The confidence Brad Warner showed to hold off making that pass to David and for David to time his run and show, at 1-0 down, his quality in front of goal to get us a point is brilliant.

"It's just a shame that it didn't quite turn into three points.

"Overall, it was probably a fair result and we've learnt a lot about the level and ourselves.

"It's a really good point considering, at half-time, we looked dead and buried.

"But we were not beaten and we've shown more than enough for us to take some confidence from this game."

However, Small fears Jamie Dicks could face a spell on the sidelines.

The winger was forced off with an injury soon after the interval at the Len Salmon Stadium.

And Small hopes the setback is not as bad as first feared.

"It looks like Jamie has suffered a nasty injury and I'm a bit worried about that," added Small.

"There was no malice and Jamie just seemed to go down off the ball.

"The physio will have a look at him and we'll make a decision about what he does next."

But Small was pleased to see Bowers overcome the blustery conditions to claim a share of the spoils.

"It was perhaps a more familiar team that finished the game for us," admitted Small.

"You could see the cohesion that might have been missing in the first half.

"The conditions cannot be underestimated because it made it very difficult."