No panic as Walsham-le-Willows boss’ unbeaten run comes to end at Newmarket Town
There was no knee-jerk reaction from Walsham-le-Willows boss Fergus O’Callaghan following his side’s heavy 5-1 defeat away to Newmarket Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday.
Despite the result ending the manager’s unbeaten run – which stretched to 10 games in all competitions since taking over in mid-October – O’Callaghan was not too discouraged.
In fact, he admitted to being ‘delighted by the reality check’ which leaves Walsham 17th in the standings, even after a run which saw them pick up 12 points from the 18 on offer.
They will travel to Mildenhall Town tomorrow (3pm), keen to pick up points. They drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture on October 26, with Ryan Clark scoring.
“I would agree that it’s important to get a result on Saturday,” O’Callaghan said. “We don’t want to get back in that losing mindset again.
“I’m hoping they will react at Mildenhall and remember what the winning feeling is, but we will be facing an ambitious squad – it was a really tight game when we played them before.
We were happy to leave them the ball but I’m not sure we’ll approach it like that this time.
“I was actually delighted by the reality check Newmarket gave us; we might be in better form, but we’re still way down in the league.
“It was very good for the boys to go on a bit of a run and restore some confidence, but we were never reading too much into it.
“The boys wanted to keep it going forever of course, but that wasn’t realistic.
“It was good for the club to get off the bottom of the table and take a bit of pressure off.”
With their last two outings on the road and the next three games also away, he added that Walsham were in a ‘tough run’ of fixtures.
“I will be happy with a couple of points on the board from the next few,” he said. “Five away games is a tough run for us at the moment.
“But every team has to deal with that at some point, so we need to concentrate more on the game plan – that’s what we didn’t do against Newmarket.”
Despite that, it was Walsham’s Craig Jennings who opened the scoring in the 40th minute for a 1-0 lead at the break.
It came from a quick counter-attacking move down the left to draw the goalkeeper out of his box before rounding him and then rolling the ball in from the edge of the area.
But that was as good as it got for the visiting side as a 15-minute spell of brilliance in the second half from their hosts left them 4-1 down, one from the penalty spot, before the final goal in the 84th minute rubbed salt in the wound.
Jennings narrowly missed a chance at the end of the first half and Walsham also saw a ball cleared off the line in the 65th minute, but once Newmarket found their rhythm, the result was never in doubt.
The Jockeys produced a phenomenal second half performance to blow their visitors apart with goals from Ross Paterson, Scott Paterson, James Seymour, Jack Watson and a first senior goal for youngster Ben Landshoff.
O’Callaghan said: “We got what we deserved, Newmarket were definitely worthy of their win, but it was also a case of a couple of freak goals and a harsh penalty, which was hard to deal with.
“I felt we just dropped off, I’m not sure if our heads dropped but our level did, and we didn’t keep to our game plan.
“Newmarket were excellent to be fair, they were very good, but we also switched off as well – and you see a 5-1 scoreline.
“We came up against a side that love playing at home and now we know why.”
Newmarket Town have yet to be beaten at their The Tristel Stadium base with seven wins and a draw, scoring 24 goals at a cost of seven; in comparison, they have scored just nine times on the road while conceding 11 times.
Walsham: Lynn, Waren, Sim, Collins, Saffrey, Miller, Hammond, Nurse (Hagan 75’), Jennings (Twinn 45’), Clark, Peters (c)
Free Press Man of the Match: Craig Jennings – unlucky not to have two for his efforts. Missed him in the second half.