Seventh victory in 10 for Cornard United does not surprise manager Dave Childs as Scott Sloots continues his scoring spree at Blackhouse Lane
Cornard United’s recent rise up the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North table may have taken some people by surprise, but certainly not their manager.
Dave Childs had said on the eve of his first season in charge that he was setting his stall out to better a points tally last term that earned the Ards’ their best position – 12th – in a decade.
Pre-season results did not bode well with a team containing 13 new players, while the start of the campaign certainly suggested it could be a real struggle.
But Saturday saw them engineer their seventh victory in their last 10 league matches to make Childs’ target of beating the 42-point tally set by predecessors Michael Schofield and Matt Grove highly achieveable, with 24 already picked up from just shy of half a season.
“I was very confident to be honest,” said the former Braintree Town Reserves manager on their form turning around.
“Everything takes time. Players left and came in and they’ve just all been working hard as a team.
“We had a bit of a blip on Tuesday night at Ipswich Wanderers (7-1 defeat last Tuesday) but they took everything we said on board and put it right on Saturday.”
Scott Sloots put the Ards ahead in the first half at home to Great Yarmouth Town from the penalty spot before the same player added two second-half goals for his hat-trick and a 3-0 scoreline.
The former Long Melford and Hadleigh United player now has 16 goals in 13 games since re-joining Cornard, showing he is certainly a player flourishing under Childs’ management at Blackhouse Lane.
“Scott Sloots is a fantastic player,” he said. “He was with us in pre-season but went off to Stanway, and then wanted to come back as his missus had a baby and he didn’t want to do as much travelling, so it suited him here.
“There have been some approaches for him and he has turned them down which is great as he is a loyal player.”
Sloots has benefited from Childs allowing him to play a more natural role up front, rather than a central midfield role he was operating in at his former clubs.
But the manager is keen to stress it is a collective effort which has got Cornard moving in the right direction again.
“It is about the team,” he said. “Everyone wants to work together for each other. I cannot ask for any more.”
Cornard head up to Fakenham Town on Saturday (3pm), the side directly below them in 11th.
In the First Division South, Halstead Town were involved in an eight-goal thriller at Barkingside that ended 4-4.
Hassan Ayten, on his first appearance, Conor Scurlock and Chris Harris (2) were all on target for the seventh-placed Humbugs during a match that saw both sides lead at various points.
Mark McLean’s side travel to Wormley Wanderers on Saturday (3pm) also a side one place below them in the table.
Halstead are just a point off the top four and six adrift of leaders Lopes Tavares going into the game, though the front runners have played three games less than the Humbugs.
Goalkeeper Jack Cherry made his 100th appearance for the north Essex club in last Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat in the First Division Knockout Cup defeat at Lakenheath, with the former AFC Sudbury Reserves player then earning the man-of-the-match award following a club Twitter poll.
More by this authorRussell Claydon