ROB Small praised the ‘desire, mental strength and character’ of his players as Bowers & Pitsea returned to winning ways.

Quentin Monville netted against his former side as Bowers registered a 1-0 victory over Barking at Mayesbrook Park.

And, having gone four games without a win, Small was pleased to see Bowers aid their Isthmian North promotion push by picking up three points in difficult conditions.

The Bowers boss said: “This is not an easy place to come. You can’t look at league tables or ever disrespect a Justin Gardner team because they work their socks off, fight and are aggressive.

“We needed to match that if we were to have a chance of winning the game and we did. We hung in there and showed just as much fight as them, which I’ve been questioning in recent weeks.

“We know, with the quality we have, that we can have a moment and our goal was a moment.

“We hadn’t won in four games, so that isn’t a team that’s flying or full of confidence.

“When you’re in that situation, you have to fight, stay in the game and overcome those dents in your confidence.

“You also have to overcome the questions being asked of you from outside the changing room and you have to rise above everything and show really good character.

“I’m very pleased with the desire, mental strength and character that my players showed.”

Brendan Ocran saw early strikes blocked by Bowers defenders James Thomas and Richard Halle as Barking looked to catch the out-of-form Bowers cold early on.

But the hosts were indebted to goalkeeper Tim Brown as he denied David Knight from the penalty spot after Monville had been brought down.

Monville grabbed what proved to be the winner, on 69 minutes, after an attempted Lewis Manor pass ricocheted kindly into his path and the winger coolly slotted home.

And Small was also pleased to keep a clean sheet.

Small added: “Our defensive shape throughout the whole team prevented Barking from scoring and I thought, overall, we looked very solid.

“I’m really pleased because we have got good players who are also willing to do the ugly side of the game and it’s the first time I’ve won or my team has scored a goal here in four attempts – in the league – as a manager.”

Bowers & Pitsea: Wilton, Sammons, J. Thomas, Stokes, Clark (McCoy 82), Halle, Monville, Sartain, Manor, Knight (Stephen 84), Warner (S. Thomas 89)