Smith confident of maintaining form in search of surprise title

MATCH ACTION: Stowmarket Town's James Fisher on the ball during his side's 6-0 loss against Cambridge University Press at Greens Meadow on Saturday
MATCH ACTION: Stowmarket Town's James Fisher on the ball during his side's 6-0 loss against Cambridge University Press at Greens Meadow on Saturday
Have your say

Walsham-le-Willows’ manager Paul Smith has backed his high-flying Willows to maintain their form and remain as genuine title contenders.

The Summer Road-based outfit have emerged as the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division’s surprise package this season.

They may be more used to a relegation battle, but a run of unbeaten form has seen the club climb to fourth.

That sequence was preserved on Saturday as goals from Tom Agricole and James Tatham were enough to seal a narrow 2-1 victory on the raod at Felixstowe and Walton United and clinch a fifth consecutive league victory.

Smith’s charges will be presented with what would appear the perfect opportunity to extend that run further when they host strugglers CRC tomorrow (3pm), but despite backing his squad to continue to challenge at the top of the table, he was quick to fire a warning of the threat of underestimating their opponents.

“I couldn’t have asked for anymore from my players over the last five or so matches, with the run of form we’ve been on,” he said. “The performance on Saturday wasn’t great, but we managed to win the game, which is the important thing.

“Being so high up the table is a bit strange for Walsham and unbelievable really, but it is fantastic and has given the squad a massive lift.

“We could go top in a couple of weeks if results go our way and that gives the players an extra incentive going into the next game.

“We are happy to be considered title challengers, people are starting to talk about us as challengers which is fantastic.

“CRC may be struggling but we will not be underestimating them because I am aware of the threat they still pose.

“I’m also wary of inconsistency among the squad because I don’t want to throw this run away.”

Meanwhile, table-toppers Mildenhall Town will look to maintain their lead at the summit over their rivals when they visit Kirkley and Pakefield tomorrow (3pm).

Hall are three points clear of second-placed Wisbech Town, but it is Dereham Town in fifth who currently pose the biggest threat as they are only six points back with three games in hand.

Thetford Town will try to end a losing streak of five matches when they host Gorleston tomorrow (3pm).

The Brecklanders will be keen on revenge having lost to the Greens in last season’s Norfolk Senior Cup final at Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium.

In the Thurlow Nunn First Division, Stowmarket Town are on the lookout for a new director of football after Neil Sharp resigned from the position and took a swipe at criticism he has been receiving.

Stow have won just seven of their last 45 league games.

In a statement on the club website, Sharp said: “After numerous people telling me what I should, or should not be doing, and in some cases even believing they somehow have the right to belittle me with their comments in front of my friends and family, I will be stepping to one side.”

The second-bottom Gold and Blacks travel to Whitton United tomorrow (3pm).

Meanwhile, fourth-bottom Team Bury will hope to end a run of four consecutive defeats when they host pointless basement boys Cornard United at Ram Meadow tomorrow (3pm).

Cornard have lost their last 26 league fixtures.