THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Stowmarket Town 2
Hadleigh United 1
Andrew Crisp has revealed he has decided not to put his name in the hat for the vacant managerial position, but said he could not be more proud of the display which could be his last in charge of Hadleigh.
Back-to-back defeats over the last seven days, with Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 reverse at bottom side Fakenham Town followed by Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at in-form Stowmarket Town, has left The Brettsiders hovering two points above the bottom three.
But their latest loss, a far cry from their 5-1 thrashing against the same star-studded side on home soil a fortnight earlier, was one Crisp said they can take great heart from.
“I thought the boys battled extremely well. They did exactly what I asked them to do,” he said of a game which saw them put out a very much patched-up side after losing captain Ben Elliott (back) and midfield dynamo Tom Driscoll (dead leg) to injuries on Saturday.
“Playing against quality players it was always going to be a tough game, but I think the boys hung in there and managed to get a goal in the second half which gave us a bit more impetus and the boys grew from that.
“They got a lucky goal, with the ball coming off our defender and looping over our ‘keeper. And the second one; five minutes before he (the referee) gave a push on their forward and then he didn’t give a push on our forward. But it is small margins and I take a lot of heart from that.”
Against a Stow side loaded with players who were playing at higher levels last season, Hadleigh’s makeshift defence — with young forward Ben Golding filling in at centre-half alongside promoted reserve Jack Benee — looked to be in for a night to forget after being run ragged in the opening 25 minutes.
The Old Gold & Blacks, unbeaten in seven, took the lead in the eighth minute when Golding’s sliced clearance looped beyond Sam Mansfield’s grasp. The stadium announcer awarded the goal to a dubious touch off former Hadleigh title-winning forward Josh Mayhew.
With chances continuing to rain in, the hosts’ advantage was doubled in the 22nd minute when Mayhew ghosted inside Golding before pulling the ball back for Dave Cowley to slot in.
Mansfield was equal to Jack Baker’s volley before Hadleigh almost got one back before the break, Ash Veitch’s stabbed effort kept out by James Bradbrook.
The second half became a much tighter affair and saw the visitors get themselves back in the game in the 52nd minute.
A quick breakaway move saw Luke Gilvray’s effort come back off the foot of the post and Kyron Andrews kept his composure to steer in the rebound.
Stow continued to dominate possession which Hadleigh soaked up well, while posing a decent threat on the break.
But despite a couple of attempts to thread a pass through the home defence, they were outdone by the offside trap and made to leave empty handed.
Hadleigh chairman Rolf Beggerow began leading an interview process with shortlisted candidates for Stuart Alston’s successor last night and hopes they may have an appointment in time for Saturday’s home game with Kirkley & Pakefield (3pm), but Crisp revealed he did not apply.
“I did not in the end. I seriously thought about it, and on tonight’s performance perhaps I should have but there are probably managers out there who have a lot more experience than I have and I am happy to help them wherever needed,” he said.
Hadleigh: Mansfield, Golding, Ross, Barwick (Sharp 84), Benee, Artiss (c), Veitch (Baldwin 88), Lambert, Andrews, Crisp, Gilvray. Unused subs: Croft, Lewis.
Free Press Man of The Match: Jack Benee.
n On Saturday at Fakenham, who have been troubled by off-the-pitch issues, Hadleigh took the lead through Veitch’s 35th-minute free-kick but the bottom side levelled from the penalty spot in the 67th minute and Ricky Claxton scored a winner stoppage time.