STOWMARKET Town manager Shane Austin has branded Newmarket Town’s Kevin Grainger a ‘disgrace’ for the manner in which his opposite number handled the sides’ abandoned match on Tuesday, after captain Gareth Ward suffered a horrific broken leg.
With Newmarket leading 3-0 with just 17 minutes on the clock, referee Sean Kilbourn called an end to matters after Ward suffered a bad break to his right leg following an innocuous-looking challenge with Jockeys front man Aaron Turner.
Austin, who conceded his captain will now miss the remainder of the season, has been left angered by how the Jockeys manager treated the situation.
“Kevin Grainger was a disgrace to be honest,” he said. “I had young players crying on the pitch and in the dressing room and my captain screaming in agony on the floor and he only cared about getting the game back on.
“Sometimes there are other things a lot more important than football and I just thought it was poor from Kevin.”
Grainger is now hopeful his young squad, who have not won a Thurlow Nunn First Division match in their previous five attempts, will be able to respond to the set back as they get set to welcome Whitton United to Greens Meadow tomorrow (3pm).
“Hopefully the squad will be in the right frame of mind because we need to be focused for what will be a tough game and get a result,” he added.
Meanwhile, league rivals Team Bury will be aiming to turn the form guide on its head when they travel to The Glassworld Stadium to take on league leaders Cambridge University Press tomorrow (3pm).
Manager Ross Wilding was left disappointed after seeing his charges knocked out of the FA Vase second qualifying round with a 3-2 home defeat to Brightlingsea Regent and although they are winless in their last two league games, he is hopeful of causing a shock.
“I was really disappointed for the lads because they deserved better and to get something from the game,” he said.
“We know it is going to be a tough match and one we are probably expected to lose but in a way the pressure is off us and if we manage to get the first goal then who knows, it could go our way.”
In the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford believes his side are good enough to remain in the hunt for the league title.
Five consecutive league victories, including Saturday’s 2-0 success over CRC, moved Hall level on points with leaders Dereham Town at the summit.
However, Appleford’s charges visit Brantham Athletic on Saturday (3pm), a side they have already been beaten at this term when exiting the FA Cup at the extra preliminary round.
“We have got a good bunch of players and on their day are a match for anyone,” said Hall’s chief. “We showed in the first game of the season though that if we don’t turn up we won’t do well.
“If we continue to play well, which we have done since that first game, there’s no reason why we can’t stay at the top — we have to keep our consistency.”
Thetford Town manager Mark Scott has been left to rue an injury crisis at the club as he aims to respond from cup elimination with league victories against Hadleigh United away tomorrow (3pm) and at home to rivals Diss Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The Brecklanders were dumped out of a second cup competition this season by Gomanchester Rovers, who also pipped them to the First Division title last campaign, this time suffering a 3-0 defeat in the FA Vase.
Scott has been left without first-team players Martin Carter (thigh), Tom Cusack (groin), Luke Howlett (broken wrist) and Liam Bottom (suspended), while Luke Catchpole is set to miss out against his former side on Tuesday with a broken hand.
Despite not being able to field his strongest side, the manager knows they need to start picking up results.
“We need to bounce back and although they won’t be easy games, realistically we know we have to get something,” he said. “The derby with Diss is particularly important.
“There is certainly no love lost between us and they will be desperate for the points so it should make for an exciting match.”
Walsham-le-Willows will be looking to build on their five-match unbeaten run when they travel to FC Clacton tomorrow (3pm).
Paul Smith’s side go into the tie having secured progression to the first round of the FA Vase with a 5-0 home win over Stansted on Saturday.