STRENGTH in depth on Westbury United’s bench earned Neil Kirkpatrick’s side three confidence-boosting points on the opening day of the Toolstation League Premier Division season on Saturday following a 3-1 win at Buckland Athletic.

Despite going a goal down following Conor Bryant’s first-half strike, Westbury defied the hosts’ persistent pressure to level before half-time through Jason Henley.

A second-half brace Ricky Hulbert secured Kirkpatrick’s side their first three points of the season, and the manager was quick to praise the impact of substitutes Jamie Jordan, Daniel Price and Joe Stradling.

Such is the importance of United’s strength in depth, Kirkpatrick is now conscious of keeping every member of his squad happy by rotating the starting XI for the remainder of the month.

Westbury were also due in action on Wednesday night against Odd Down and host Fareham Town in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Further league matches against Hallen and Brislington also await this month, as does a trip to Andover Town in the FA Vase, and Kirkpatrick accepts he has plenty of opportunities to carry out his plan of action.

He said: “It’s nice to have that depth on the bench, but at the same time, we’ve got to keep the players happy.

“We need to make sure we rotate the side accordingly to keep everyone happy.

“We had Lady Luck with us on Saturday, and I’m sure there will be games throughout the season where our luck goes the other way.

“The lads ground it out, dug in and worked for each other – things look good moving forward.”

United’s fight and determination while under pressure was also highlighted as a major positive by Kirkpatrick.

He added: “It’s a perfect start, and a cracking result – I would’ve taken a draw before the game.

“We were under the cosh for the first 20 minutes and at a goal down. Once we got back to one each, we took control of the game and scored a couple of goals.

“I don’t think their bench had an impact, whereas ours did.

“It was a gutsy performance, we certainly would’ve lost that game last season.”

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Bradford Town also started the season with a win – beating Keynsham Town 4-2 at home.

The Bobcats actually led 4-1 after 66 minutes of play following goals for Lewis Ellington and Neikell Plummer plus Gary Higdon’s brace.

But Keynsham’s Matthew Brown took some gloss off the score when netting his second goal with five minutes of play remaining – although it was not enough to deny Wayne Thorne’s side the spoils.

Bradford travel to Cheddar in the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Saturday.