Brettsiders’ mixed season sees promotion postponed

ON TARGET: Duane Wright, taking the plaudits after scoring against Newmarket Town earlier this season, was on target for Hadleigh United's opener against Ely City at the Millfield on Saturday
ON TARGET: Duane Wright, taking the plaudits after scoring against Newmarket Town earlier this season, was on target for Hadleigh United's opener against Ely City at the Millfield on Saturday

Hadleigh United, Thurlow Nunn League champions last season, have not applied for promotion to step four, Ryman League level, next season.

The Brettsiders have had a mixed season so far and currently lie fifth, 12 points adrift of leaders Norwich United, but promotion remains a long-term ambition for the club, says manager Stuart Crawford.

“It would have been great to move up a level, but the reality was and still is that we are not able to fund the added travel distances, let alone an increase in the playing budget and ground upgrades,” he said. “Everyone is aware as a club last season we moved forwards at a much faster pace ‘on the field’ than we had ‘off it’.

“But losing so many of last year’s squad has made things difficult this season, as that squad had been built over three years and most of the players had been together throughout that time and had a real togetherness.

“Added to that, every team has shown real desire to beat us this season, as the club are champions, even though less than half the current squad were winners with us in May.”

Currently, he concedes, the team is struggling for form.

“Despite having decent levels of possession, I feel we have been out-worked and out-muscled physically by our opponents in recent weeks and that has been hard to accept,” he said. “To be fair to Ely last weekend, they were a threat.

“They were quick and skilful and played better than a bottom-of-the-league outfit and deserved their point.

“At the moment, we are not performing to the levels I want to accept, and that may have some consequences on the club’s outlook for the remainder of the season.

“There is definitely a chance we will evaluate the squad and potentially look to reduce the outgoings and introduce the younger players.”

Hadleigh visit Haverhill Rovers in the league on Saturday (3pm).

In the First Division Cornard United entertain Braintree Town Reserves at Blackhouse Lane on Saturday (3pm).

The club will be holding a service prior to the game, starting at 2.15pm, as part of the Football Remembers commemoration.

The club will mark the First World War Christmas truce of 1914, together with members of the Royal British Legion, Salvation Army, the Royal Naval Association, the Royal Airforce Association, Scouts and Cubs. There will be readings, prayers and a bugler from the Legion will play Last Post and Reveille.

Long Melford host Needham Market Reserves at Stoneylands, while Halstead Town welcome Great Yarmouth Town to Rosemary Lane, both on Saturday (3pm).