Brettsiders want to reignite season for highest finish yet

HISTORY MAKERS: Hadleigh United's management team of Stuart Crawford and Alan Dilloway want to guide their side to their highest league finish
HISTORY MAKERS: Hadleigh United's management team of Stuart Crawford and Alan Dilloway want to guide their side to their highest league finish
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Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford insists there is still plenty for his side to play for, despite seeing their title hopes evaporate.

The Brettsiders have not won in five Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division encounters since their record-breaking FA Vase run ended at the quarter-final stage on March 2, losing their last four.

However, Crawford’s charges have more history in their sight with the club’s highest ever league position of ninth under threat.

“Going out of the Vase was a big blow to a lot of people and has affected us,” said the Brettsiders’ boss. “We just have to work hard now to make sure we get as many points as we can before the season is over.

“My target is to finish higher than we ever have before, which is ninth.”

United, whose ninth-place finish came in 2010/11, will have to deal with injury and unavailability problems to keep their top-eight bid on track.

Danny Bloomfield — who had only been at the club a couple of months — has returned to Needham Market, while James Evans — who signed from the Marketmen with Bloomfield — is to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Striker Lee McGlone’s suspension is over, but he is unavailable for Saturday’s trip to leaders Dereham Town (3pm).

Scott Chaplin will also miss the match because of new work commitments, but could return for their home fixture with Haverhill Rovers on Easter Monday (3pm).

Also out are Neil Calver (family commitments), Matt Downing (back injury), Darren Moyes (shoulder injury) and James Blades (hamstring injury).

That has given more first-team opportunities to the likes of Tom Driscoll, Mike Barwick and Harry Evans.

Crawford was not too despondent after Hadleigh and title-chasing Wisbech Town defied the arctic weather to play their match on Saturday.

“We would have run them closer if we had taken our chances, but they are a really good side,” said the Brettsiders’ boss after Hadleigh had suffered a fourth successive defeat.

United were near to an early goal when Marcus Josiah fired against the woodwork, before Ollie Canfer had a goal disallowed for offside.

Wisbech got their noses in front when Callum Reed scored after 10 minutes and the score was 1-0 at the break.

The Fenman increased their lead with a goal by Neal Spafford on the hour-mark before Adam Millson ended Hadleigh’s hopes with a third goal seven minutes later.

Hadleigh at last managed to get on the scoresheet in the 75th minute when a centre from Josiah was volleyed home from 18 yards by Chris McLaughlin.

n The Football Association have granted the Thurlow Nunn League a one-week extension to the league campaign, should clubs require it.

Clubs’ views are being sought and an announcement should be made early next week.