Hadleigh United looking to push on

WILL the real Hadleigh United please stand up?

The term Jekyll and Hyde could have been coined with Hadleigh United’s rollercoaster season in the Ridgeons League Premier Division in mind.

How can a side win 6-1 at Woodbridge and then lose at home by the same scoreline just a month later, lose 6-1 at home to Haverhill in the League Cup and then beat the same opponents 3-1 in the league just four days later and then go and hammer second-placed Brantham 6-0 away?

Tuesday night’s win at Brantham was achieved against the backdrop of two players calling off in advance of the game, midfielder Luke Ingram being recalled by parent club Bury Town and on-loan Leiston striker Lee McGlone arriving too late to start as he was held up at work.

Manager Stuart Crawford said: “I felt when we lost 6-1 to Haverhill in the League Cup we looked jaded, so it was a difficult call to make to tell both Stuart Jopling and Michael Steward (who was yesterday made available for transfer) that I was going to leave them out on Saturday.”

And after seeing his side respond with back-to-back wins, Crawford was understandably delighted with his team.

“We are as good technically as most teams in this league, but are inconsistent. However, if we play to the levels we can there is no reason why we can’t go to places like Brantham and win.

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“I thought our two centre backs (Kris Rose and Jack Cawley) were outstanding against what I believe is the best strike partnership in the league (Ollie Mann and Josh Mayhew) considering it was the first time they had played together.”

Crawford also praised midfielder Liam Jennings, who played 75 minutes after serving a five-match ban soon after completing his initial seven-match suspension, and also stand-in striker Shaun French.

“Jenno was excellent considering he was thrown in, while Frenchy has been having a hard time recently and struggling defensively, but he was outstanding for us upfront.

“There has been a lot of negativity around the club from supporters. I sometimes wonder what they expect because we have not got a massive budget. We had a good season last year and people expected us to push on again, but with the injuries we have had people have been unrealistic.

“My aim was to improve upon last year’s ninth-place finish, and after the problems we have had maybe we should just be looking to consolidate and go again next season.

“But after the last two performances I am hoping that if we can keep it tight defensively we can push on and have a good second half of the season. I am hoping this will spur us on as there are still a lot of games to play.”

Hadleigh travel to leaders Wroxham tomorrow and Crawford added: “We have got nothing to fear. We can go there with confidence, and hopefully our supporters will have renewed belief.”

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