Ollie is the Mann for Brantham Athletic as Imps boss Paul Abrahams, once of Colchester United, is managing a new-look side who just ‘love playing football’

Brantham's Ollie Mann (blue) has four goals in his last two games for the Imps

Brantham's Ollie Mann (blue) has four goals in his last two games for the Imps

Following an excellent 2-1 win over Felixstowe & Walton on Tuesday evening, Brantham Athletic boss Paul Abrahams has been left delighted with the attitude and performances of his new-look squad this season.

Ollie Mann and substitute James Beecham scored the goals to come from behind and sink the Seasiders, who must still feel aggrieved that this fixture earlier in the season was called off midway through the first-half after floodlight failure, with Felixstowe winning 2-0.

“Tuesday was a good result and a pleasing performance,” added former Colchester United winger Abrahams.

“We were on the end of a 6-0 whopping against them last season, so this result shows just how far we’ve come in a short period of time.”

Of the floodlight situation and Brantham going on to ironically win the return match, Abrahams added: “It was just one of those freak situations.

“We can only apologise to them (Felixstowe) on the night – both we and they had electricians there and we all tried our best.

“We won’t know how that game would’ve finished up as I felt we were playing well and competing, despite going down to two quick-fire goals.”

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After starting the season with three straight league defeats as well as an early FA Cup exit, Abrahams now believes that his side are on the right path, and playing with confidence after a forgettable August.

“We’ve now won five out of our last nine, drawing one, and that’s progress,” added Abrahams, who is just one-month shy of a year in charge at Brantham.

“In my opinion, we’ve deserved more in games but the latest run in September has hopefully installed the belief in the players that they didn’t have coming into the season.”

The Imps underwent a summer of transition in pre-season as 10 first-team squad members departed.

Despite admitting that pre-season and therefore August wasn’t ideal, Abrahams has made some solid additions to his side – which involves many of last season’s reserve and under-18 players.

Jack Cawley, Ross Norfolk, and Joe Fowler are just three players Abrahams has got in that are making a difference and the boss is pleased with the way things are panning out.

“We’ve added some solid players who are more reliable and predictable,” said Abrahams.

“The club has a different look and feel to it with several reserve players and youth players playing who haven’t had a chance before – but I think that’s the route clubs like Brantham have to go down.

“It’s a huge transition we’ve gone under, and it’ll take a bit of time, but we’ve undergone a huge amount of work in September and the group has potential.

“We have no set aims. We are just building a squad who love playing football. There’s no pressure on them, me and my coaching staff are sometimes very demanding but you don’t get rewards without putting in the effort.”

One player that has impressed Abrahams of late is Mann who, previous to Tuesday, scored a superb hat-trick at Thetford recently.

“Ollie’s had a difficult time of it (a series of knee problems and operations brought fears that he might not play again) and we have to manage him carefully.

“He’s playing at about 60% but he’d make a huge difference to any team as he is such a good player.”

Brantham host Norwich United tomorrow in league action, where a win could potentially lift them up from 10th position to fifth.

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