Hadleigh United sign goalkeeper as four of Thurlow Nunn title-winning team depart

Josh Mayhew

Josh Mayhew - Credit: Archant

Thurlow Nunn Premier Division champions Hadleigh United have started the rebuilding process ahead of their title defence.H

Manager Stuart Crawford has signed Norwich United goalkeeper Ben Nower, but four players from last season’s title-winning squad have left the Millfield, including 24-goal top-scorer Josh Mayhew, who has joined Ryman League North new-boys Brightlingsea Regent.

Other exits include Shane Wardley, who has joined newly-promoted Ipswich Wanderers, Mark Maher, who has left for Premier Division rivals Stanway Rovers and the long-serving Ollie Canfer, who is relocating.

Crawford revealed that a new left-back and two new strikers are a priority ahead of the new season but won’t be making any rash decisions.

“We have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes but we don’t want to just sign players for the sake of it,” said Crawford.

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“There are quite a few people that have been invited to pre-season training and we have brought in one player so far, Ben Nower.”

Crawford and Nower go back a long way, having been apprentices at Lincoln City in the late 1990s and then team-mates at AFC Sudbury. Nower can also list Mildenhall, Felixstowe and Diss as former clubs.

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“We used to room together at Lincoln and he has had a good non-league career,” said Crawford.

“I think he is the best goalkeeper we came up against in the league and always had good games against us.

“We had two goalkeepers last season in Fred Howe and Darren Moyes but Darren had a problem with his shoulder.

“He struggled with injury and is trying to get himself fit but I think we used about six goalkeepers and were left with little cover.”

Meanwhile, Crawford has praised the players leaving the club. He said: “They were all part of the title-winning team and have been good servants to the club, especially Ollie Canfer. Ollie has been with us for four years and has been outstanding throughout that particular period.

“They will all be missed, but that’s football.

“Mark (Maher) is joining Stanway to be closer to his home in Hackney, Josh Mayhew is going to try his luck in a higher division, Shane Wardley has signed for Ipswich Wanderers and Ollie is relocating in August.”

Elsewhere, Brightlingsea Regent have added Heybridge Swifts striker Ben Newson to their ranks, along with Josh Mayhew.

The brother of Needham Market’s Sam Newson and Paralympian Zoe, striker Ben scored 11 goals and accrued 12 assists in 48 games last season as the Swifts made the Ryman North play-offs.

On the signing of Mayhew, manager James Webster said: “Josh is a player that I’ve always rated highly and whenever he’s played against Regent he has been a threat.

“He is a powerful, direct runner with the ball and has shown consistently what a finisher he is.

“I believe Josh will make the step up into Ryman football and hopefully we can push him on even further in his career.”

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