Town co-bosses so proud of team’s efforts
FOOTBALL: With the dust barely settled on a heart-breaking play-off final defeat, Downham Town co-managers Dale Stokes and Craig Dickson are already drawing up plans for next season.
Saturday brought a 3-1 defeat at Harleston Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Division One North play-off, for a place in the Premier Division season next season.
Despite taking a sixth-minute lead through George Watts-Sturrock’s penalty, the visitors fell to defeat and Stokes said: “It was a very disappointing result. We are gutted about it but unfortunately that’s the nature of the game.
“It was a horrible way to end the season. It’s probably the best occasion in terms of getting promoted, to do it via the play-offs on a big day. However, the flip side is that it’s certainly the worst feeling when you miss out.”
Despite his disappointment, Stokes was quick to praise his team’s fans. “It was brilliant to have a whole side of the pitch cheering us on. The support we’ve had recently has been hugely appreciated.
“To get within 90 minutes of the club playing at Step 5 for the first time in their history was incredible – it was within touching distance.
“Everyone at the club is absolutely gutted. Aside from the obvious with the result, the general emotion among the players and management was that we were so bitterly disappointed with our performance on the day.
“There was certainly a feeling of dejection. Despite everyone giving it their all, we still felt it was a missed opportunity.”
Stokes explained how a change of tactics had failed to switch things in his team’s favour. “We pride ourselves on being a footballing side. Unfortunately Plan A wasn’t working for various reasons, so we resorted to Plan B but that didn’t have the desired affect either. We just didn’t get going, other than maybe a 15-minute spell in the first half.
“Myself and Craig (Dickson)couldn’t be any prouder of the group. It just wasn’t meant to be and the best team won, simple as that.
“You can go over all the ifs and buts to try to figure out why it didn’t go as we’d hoped, but we just need to dust it off and go again next year.
“It wasn’t long ago that Downham were seen as an easy three points but this season we’ve only lost four games from 32.
“We’ve already started planning for 22/23. The dates are all set for pre-season and I’d say we are even more fired up than this year. We can’t wait to get going again.”
Goals flow too late to save National League spot
FOOTBALL: King’s Lynn Town’s two-year stay in the National League came to an end on Saturday, writes Chris Milsom.
A dramatic 3-3 home draw with Eastleigh was not enough to save them, with Aldershot beating Notts County 3-1 to ensure they stay up. Lynn quickly put that disappointment behind them as they turned on a show to run out 3-0 victors at Woking on Monday.
Gold Omotayo gave Lynn the lead five minutes before the half-time break against Eastleigh but they were behind with 15 minutes to go thanks to goals from Tyrone Barnett and Vinny Harper.
A brilliant header from Ross Barrows drew Lynn level and Omotayo sparked wild celebrations when he tapped home Josh Barrett’s cross deep into stoppage time. However, there was still time for Eastleigh to draw level when Michael Kelly converted a penalty.
Tommy Widdrington called for his team to remain professional and fight until the end and that is what they did as they put Woking to the sword two days later. Omotayo’s fifth goal in six games gave Lynn the lead and two late goals from Tyler Denton and substitute Ken Charles completed matters.
Widdrington thought his team had been outstanding on Monday and said: “I thought we were the better side. They are a big strong outfit and are physical at both ends of the pitch but we dominated the middle of the park. We passed the ball the best we have for a long time. We tried to be incisive and we wanted to dominate the ball, which we did.
“All three goals were good goals and it was deeply satisfying after suffering an absolute hammer blow of disappointment on Saturday.
“Everybody felt it, me included, the lads especially. But they picked themselves up.
“The way we’ve tried to approach the task we had ahead of us has been spot on and I’ve been absolutely delighted.”
The Linnets complete their National League season with a trip to Wealdstone tomorrow. The league finishes the following week but the Linnets are the odd men out and have no match.