Walsham manager Paul Smith praises his ‘superb’ players

Walsham-le-Willows on the attack against Mildenhall Town in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Summer Road

Walsham-le-Willows on the attack against Mildenhall Town in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Summer Road - Credit: Archant

WALSHAM-LE-WILLOWS manager Paul Smith praised his players, who he believes can be real title contenders next season, after Saturday’s stalemate against West Suffolk rivals Mildenhall Town.

Smith thought his side deserved more than a draw courtesy of substitute Paul Musgrove’s 87th minute equaliser, which cancelled out Allicion Blake’s 15th minute opener for the visitors.

He said: “I thought we dominated the game from start to finish, although they had a couple of one-on-ones which our keeper had to pull off good saves from when we were pushing forward.

“The goal eventually came and I thought we would probably go on and win it, but it was too late to get a winner.

“Ollie Hughes and Stuart Jopling both had good chances for us, but my players could not have given any more today – they were superb.”

None more so than Ryan Foster, who gave an outstanding display in midfield for the home team as they sought to get back on level terms.

Smith said: “Ryan Foster was here four or five years ago and did so well that Mildenhall took him off us for more money, but since he has come back he has grown up more and knuckled down. On his day he has got to be one of the best mid

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field players in this league.”

With seven games left to play, Walsham can now reach a maximum of 79 points which Smith feels will not be sufficient to win the title.

“I think 81 points will win the league and we can’t get that now, even if we win every game.

“If we can keep the players and they can build on what we have achieved this year, I believe next year we can be real championship contenders, which is unbelievable for a club like Walsham,” he added.

Mildenhall manager Christian Appleford was disappointed his side failed to collect all three points.

He said: “We sat back and they didn’t get behind us. We looked to control them and then hit them on the break.

“At 1-0 Kris Thomas missed a good chance and they then had a lot of pressure but did not really hurt us, so it was disappointing to concede late on.”

Appleford was also disappointed his side’s penalty appeals were waved away when the ball clearly struck Paul Musgrove’s raised arm in the 85th minute as he attempted to block a cross just two minutes before he then equalised.

“The referee said it was outside the box, but my players thought it was inside, so it was disappointing not to get a penalty as it was a turning point in the game,” he said.

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