MILDENHALL Town’s season could possibly be best summed up with the phrase: ‘mixed bag’.
It has been a campaign that manager Christian Appleford has described as a ‘quite disrupted season’ that saw Town finish seventh in the Ridgeons Premier Division, but enjoy a decent run in the FA Vase.
“Some people were tipping us for the title, but we knew that was ridiculous,” said Appleford. “We know our budget and our resources and we were realistic.”
But the boss is proud of his side’s efforts considering the disruption they experienced.
The club sold John Sands to Bury Town in October — the striker had been top goalscorer the previous year with a record league tally for Mildenhall.
But Appleford was lucky enough to find a ready-made replacement for Sands in Andrew Wood.
In fact, Wood was such a successful replacement that he broke Sands’ short-standing record, scoring 33 league goals in 39 appearances.
When asked to name his side’s best achievement for the season, Appleford was unable to be certain.
“It’s difficult to say, because it’s been quite a disrupted season,” he said. “Beating Wroxham in the FA Vase and in the league were particular highlights.”
The league victory over Wroxham was an especially sweet moment, coming at the Norfolk side’s home ground on the final day of the season, the day they were to be crowned league champions.
Town went out of the FA Cup with a 4-0 home defeat to Brantham Athletic, and left both the Suffolk Premier Cup and the Ridgeons League Cup at the second round stage.
They fared better in the Vase, where they made the fourth round before losing to Sporting Bengal United, of the Essex Senior League.
That defeat ranks as Appleford’s biggest disappointment for the season: “They were one of the worst sides we’ll ever play. We just didn’t turn up on the day.”
The awards for both players’ player of the year layer and supporters’ player went to Steve Holder.
The former Walsham-le-Willows striker notched 17 goals in the campaign, including one that was voted goal of the season by fans.
The manager’s player award, meanwhile, went to Mike Harvey, with the utility player showing the sort of versatility and willingness to play out of position that managers love.
When asked what his hopes are for next season, Appleford was pragmatic.
“We know there are clubs with bigger budgets than ours who are offering twice as much for our players to play for them,” he said. “But we know our budget and our resources. We’re just going to stay sensible and try and progress next season.”
They will be aiming for better form in the cup competitions as well.