Cornard United’s Chris Symes vows to remain in hotseat, despite losing run

ON THE MOVE? Cornard's Liam Whitwell, defending against Swaffham's Alex Vincent on Saturday, could be on his way to Long Melford.
ON THE MOVE? Cornard's Liam Whitwell, defending against Swaffham's Alex Vincent on Saturday, could be on his way to Long Melford.
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Cornard United 0 Swaffham Town 4



Cornard United 0 Swaffham Town 4

by Russell Claydon at Blackhouse Lane

CORNARD United owner and manager Chris Symes has brought in former Long Melford boss Jason Maher as he looks to halt a nightmare run.

Saturday’s defeat meant the Ards have now gone a whole calendar year without a league win.

The man who guided Melford to a Suffolk Senior Cup final appearance at Portman Road last season, amid off-the-field troubles, before losing to Whitton United, was in the dugout at the weekend and already has new faces he wants to bring in.

But his first action, initially as a stand-in number two training the side while player/coach Wayne Pannell is away in Spain, was to witness another horribly one-sided affair.

Symes said: “All I will do is the best I can do to get out of it (the losing run) and now I have got someone to help me.

“There is no relegation and I can’t sack myself, so what’s the problem? I just do my best, in fact, I am working harder now than I ever did managing Chelmsford.

“It is hard but what can I do? I own the place and if I bring another manager in he will want a budget.”

He revealed the saga to sell the club continues with the 25-year lease he is seeking to obtain from Great Cornard Parish Council for the land the clubhouse he owns is sitting on is still in the hands of solicitors a year after they first took it on.

Swaffham Town hadn’t tasted victory in their last five league games ahead of Saturday, but after a flurry of early shots their opener came after a quarter of an hour Dean Miller headed unchallenged at the far post from Alex Vincent’s corner.

Vincent’s shot on the turn inside the box after 22 mintues beat Cornard’s fifth keeper of the campaign, Chris Panton, hands up into the bottom corner for what should have been more than a 2-0 lead at the break.

The second half saw an improvement from Cornard, once the physical presence of Ashleigh Curran was moved from defence to attack in place of pacey frontrunner Dan Charles, but they were never able to pose a threat on Scott Cruickshank’s goal, making it nine successive games (seven league) without finding the back of the net.

Down the other end, Panton pulled off some fine saves to keep the scoreline down after his mistake at spilling Vincent’s shot after 50 minutes allowed Liam Reed to make it 3-0.

The final goal came in stoppage time when Panton, signed from Colchester and Sunday League side Abbeyfields after Stefan Robson had moved on to Boxford Rovers without even notifying Symes, was horribly beaten at his near post after Neil Goodburn had all-too easily skipped into the box.

Cornard: Panton, Melia, Beckett (c), Curran, Newcombe, Hunt, Sheffield (Hynes 75), Charles, Holden, Crissell (Sade 75). Unused sub: Kelly.

Free Press man of the match: Peter Whitwell. Defender’s performance was a rare bright spot. Melford have a seven-day approach in though and he may not be at Blackhouse Lane much longer.

Att: 24

*Ahead of their First Division Knockout Cup first round tie at home to Braintree Town Reserves tomorrow night (7.45pm), Cornard manager Chris Symes insists there is no ill feeling after he pulled the agreement to let them take over Cornard’s first team just days before the start of the 2011/12 season to allow him to sell the club to Rob Batten, a deal which eventually fell through.

“I phoned up Mark (Sansom, Braintree Town Reserves manager) the other day saying ‘make sure you bring back that number seven shirt you still have to iron’, there are no problems,” he said. “He was disappointed, he was going to be appointed manager and then Batten came in and the chairman Lee Harding said to me ‘if you get a cheque for selling it, don’t worry about us’.”

Cornard’s only win of the campaign came in the competition’s preliminary round with a 1-0 victory over Stowmarket Town on September 8.