Ex-Town star Gregory leading Falcons’ revival

WHAT a difference a win makes!

Stowupland Falcons had not won a competitive match of any kind since December 2009 while suffering successive relegations until they defeated John Bull 3-1 in the first round of the Touchline Sports Cup (previously the Omnico Cup) at the start of last month.

That win kick-started a memorable month for the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Division Two side, who at the time were third from bottom of the table with one point from five matches.

They followed that up with two wins and a draw in the league and also a place in the third round of the Suffolk Junior Cup, after defeating Elmswell 3-1 on penalties following a goalless draw.

And the man leading the revival is none other than Neil Gregory, the 39-year-old former Ipswich Town and Colchester United striker, who took over the managerial reins at the start of this season, after getting involved on the coaching side towards the end of last season.

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The former Whitton United assistant manager, who started playing for Stowupland Veterans two years ago and was in the side that won four trophies last season, said of the team’s winless streak: “I didn’t know it was that long until I read it in the paper and it shook me a little.

“We started off playing really well at the beginning of the season, although there were discipline and attendance problems left over from last year – the sorts of things that every manager at this level goes through.

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“We were playing some good football without getting the rub of the green, and I knew that as soon as we won one we would win two or three and the lads are now absolutely buzzing.

“I think they have grown up a bit. In the games before we won we had taken the lead 80 per cent of the time, but as soon as we let one in the players would recall last season and think ‘oh no, here we go again’ and let it get to them.

“Then in the cup game it clicked and we managed to get over the line, and I knew the confidence of winning would help them even more.”

Gregory said of the team’s performance in the Suffolk Junior Cup tie against Elmswell: “That was probably the worst we have played so far this season, but we are still in the hat for the next round and hoping to do quite well in that - a good cup run could do wonders for the club.”

Besides targeting a good cup run Gregory is hoping to climb up the league table.

“It would be lovely if we could go up, but after the last two seasons it is more a case of getting a stable environment at the club and to keep on improving. They are a good bunch of lads and we have ironed out the problems from last year.”

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