Achilles boss has mixed feelings over deduction

Football: Achilles manager Alan Middle revealed he has “mixed feelings” after Felixstowe United’s proposed points deduction let them back in the Kingsley Healthcare SIL title race.

While Middle is delighted his squad have the chance to mark their first season back in the Senior Division with championship glory, he said he has some sympathy for Felixstowe, who thought they had won the title after beating Coplestonians last weekend.

“I’m disappointed for Watty (Ian Watson, Felixstowe joint first team manager),” he said. “I’ve got mixed feelings as I get on really well with him and I was pleased for the club.

“Then there’s obviously part of you that’s still pleased that we’ve still got a chance to win the league. I suppose you have to say that the rules are there for a reason and they broke them.

“For whatever reason they have made a mistake and they have been punished.”

Despite the uncertainty, Middle rejects claims a title win would be tainted if they see off Old Newton tomorrow as they have been on the receiving end of a controversial league decision before.

“If we go on to win the league I don’t think the gloss would be taken off it,” he added. “I remember in the 2005/06 season when East Bergholt were losing 2-1 to Felixstowe United, ironically, and because they had a serious injury late in the game the league decided to replay the game.

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“East Bergholt went on to win the game 3-0 and finished above us by three points when we had a better goal difference.

“Perhaps it could just be our time to benefit from this sort of decision.”

Middle knows that Old Newton will be equally determined to wrestle the championship from Felixstowe’s grasp however.

“We know that we’ve got to win as if we draw then Felixstowe will still be champions. But make no mistake about it, Old Newton will be up for it and it’s going to be like a one-off cup final for both sides.”

Whatever happens this weekend it has been a season beyond Middle’s expectations at the start of the campaign having been promoted last year.

“Our initial goal was just to stay in the Senior Division and as the season went on we thought to finish in the top six would be a real achievement.

“Now we are in this position we would be disappointed if we couldn’t go on to secure the title. It’s going to be an exciting end.”

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