Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford confident Brettsiders will still win Thurlow Nunn Premier title

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford.

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford. - Credit: Archant

Despite seeing his side’s lead at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division come under severe scrutiny of late, Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford knows the Brettsiders are still in the strongest position to win the sought-after title.

For near enough the entire footballing calendar this year, Hadleigh have looked dead certainties to run away with the Step 5 title.

But after a run of four league defeats in their last seven games, the Brettsiders’ once odds-on title aspirations have come under severe pressure from the likes of Fellixstowe & Walton United, Gorleston, Brightlingsea Regent and Godmanchester Rovers.

Hadleigh currently sit three points clear at the top of the table, but now have a queue of teams looking to capitalise on any more mistakes the Brettsiders might make in the remainder of the season.

Although disappointed that his side’s results have declined at the most of crucial part of the campaign, letting the door open for others to possibly pounce further, Crawford still believes that the title is his sides to lose.

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“It’s a five-game season now,” declared the Hadleigh boss.

“There are five games left to go and there are five challengers.

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“Five teams could win it but we’re still in the strongest position at the present moment.

“Whoever can pick up the most points from now on in will win it.

“Too many people look too far ahead, and I’m sure there will still be plenty more changes in the race – who knows what might be happen?

“We still believe in ourselves though and will be aiming to win all five games, although I don’t think we’ll have to win all five to win it.”

Like many others, Crawford can’t fully explain how a once rosy-looking Hadleigh side’s fortunes have taken such a downward spiral.

“It’s hard to really say what’s happened because I’m not even too sure myself,” admitted Crawford, whose side are currently winless in five league games.

“We’ve had some difficult games and I think we’ve been punished by teams who maybe earlier in the season, had chances against us, but weren’t taking them. The margins are very small.”

Ever since that infamous 1-0 home defeat to Norwich United on January 25, which was closely followed by an FA Vase exit to Wisbech Town, the once free-flowing and unstoppable force of Hadleigh haven’t looked the same team as Crawford explains.

He said: “I think it’s a confidence thing. Football is all about confidence.

“Sometimes it’s easy when you are confident, and when you have a wobble it’s difficult to get back to the same level.

“The same sort of thing happened to us last season.

“We were still in contention for the League last year when we went out of the FA Vase quarter-finals and then dipped off.

“We’re still in the strongest position at the moment but that can all change in an instant.”

Tomorrow, Hadleigh, missing striker Tes Bramble, left, with a kneee injury, travel to third-placed Gorleston in a real crunch match at the top end of the table.

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