Ward satisfied with 10th place finish
COLCHESTER United manager John Ward declared himself satisfied with the club’s 10th place League One finish after today’s 2-1 home win over Bristol Rovers brought the curtain down on his first season in charge.
Ian Henderson’s quickfire first half brace rendered substitute Elliot Richards’ second half goal a mere consolation for the Pirates who have been relegated to League Two.
“We’ve finished 10th which is good,” said Ward. “I don’t know how it ranks in the history of the club, but I do know that last year we finished eighth and that was the fourth best ever so it must be in the top six somewhere in terms of the best finishes the club has ever had.
“I’ve got to be satisfied with that because it gives us a bench mark for next year.
“What I really enjoyed today was the reception the team got from the supporters at the end. Sometimes we say it’s a pretty quiet place here but their reaction at the end was one that let my players know they’ve enjoyed watching them play.”
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Henderson’s two goals means he has finished the season with five from six to end up the club’s leading league scorer with 10.
“He’s in really good form,” said Ward. “He’s been pretty clinical in front of goal, but he’ll probably be the first to say that the other boys have set things up for him.”
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Ward also handed a debut to teenage midfielder Jordan Sanderson, bringing him on as an 81st minute substitute just a day after he signed professional terms at the club.
“Jordan signed his contract yesterday and it was nice to get him out on the pitch,” said Ward.
“He’s got the biggest grin on his face in the dressing room right now. I’m really pleased for him and the guys who run the youth department.”
There was also a tinge of sadness for the 60-year-old boss on this final day of the season as two of his former clubs – Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City – were relegated to League Two and out of the Football League respectively.
He said: “I had to beat Bristol Rovers today, that’s my job, but I am sad for them – and my former club Lincoln City – because they are good clubs.”