Long Melford victory is a step in right direction for Whitton United boss
Whitton United manager Duncan Wheeler wants his players to replicate the commitment that saw them end a 12-game losing streak, at home to Long Melford, last Saturday.
The Thurlow Nunn Premier Division’s bottom side caused a major shock when they defeated the Villagers 2-0, at the King George V Playing Fields.
Josh Turner and Jamie Cole grabbed the goals to seal Wheeler’s first win in charge and ended a barren league streak without a win that stretched back to October 24 and a 2-0 victory at Walsham-le-Willows.
The immediate situation still looks bleak for Whitton, 12 points from safety with 13 games to go, and they travel to mid-table Saffron Walden tomorrow.
Wheeler, who replaced Glenn Snell as boss at the turn of the year, has not hid the fact that the long-term future of the club is the number one priority, but while relegation looks inevitable, last weekend’s win could prove to be a step in the right direction.
“The players have worked their socks off since I have been here and that win will help add belief in what we are trying to do,” said Wheeler.
“We have conceded a lot of early goals this season and we set out to try and prevent that in the opening quarter and we found ourselves 1-0 up.
“Our goalkeeper Ross Welton then made three or four outstanding saves, before we made it two. We could have ended up winning by three or four.
“That game probably saw our work-rate at its peak and if we can maintain that and keep on improving, then we have something to work on in the future.”
Having won the Division One title and Suffolk Senior Cup in 2014, Whitton finished in a comfortable position last season, but were then rocked by the departure of manager Paul Bugg and key players such as Miles Powell and Anton and Ethan Clarke in the summer, while Chris Williams departed soon after.
Snell, Bugg’s assistant, stayed on to try and maintain some sort of continuity, but departed at the turn of the year on good terms, having conceded he had “exhausted his contacts book” when it came to bringing in new recruits and strengthening the squad.
Wheeler took over and his remit was to rebuild the club from the youth section up.
Building foundations and momentum is likely to take a while, but the Ipswich Town youth coach is happy with the slow progress being made.
“We had Josh Turner, who had been playing for Felixstowe & Walton reserves, score his first senior goal for the club last weekend. He is only 17 and lives locally,” explained Wheeler.
“Then there is Josh Hubert who lives a one minute walk from the ground. He is another youngster who played well last week.
“We have a relatively young team, with a few experienced lads who have been brilliant for them, and they have proved they can compete.
“It gives us great hope for the future that we can build on this and that there is quality talent out there from the local area.
“We are quite realistic and there is no pressure on the players, we know where we are. If we pick up some more points then that’s great, but it’s all about laying foundations.
“We want to re-establish our under-18 team, which will have a great knock-on effect on the reserve side and we want to get the right structure in place in terms of people running the teams.”