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Soham Town Rangers make a winning start to life under new management team



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It is still very much early days, but joint manager Matt Clements was delighted with how things panned out during his first game in permanent charge of Soham Town Rangers.

Clements and fellow boss Lloyd Groves were part of the coaching staff under previous boss Robbie Mason, who departed with the Greens bottom of the Pitching In Northern Midlands Division and without a league win since September 25.

That victory was against Histon and by chance it was the Stutes who were the visitors to Julius Martin Lane on Saturday, when a 2-0 win lifted Soham above their Cambridgeshire rivals.

Matt Clements (left) and Lloyd Groves (right) won their first game in joint charge of Soham Town Rangers. Picture: Mark Westley
Matt Clements (left) and Lloyd Groves (right) won their first game in joint charge of Soham Town Rangers. Picture: Mark Westley

There is still plenty of work to be done – Soham are seven points from guaranteed safety – but the first steps have been encouraging.

Clements said: “It wasn’t a must win because there are still plenty of matches to play, but there is no doubt you pinpoint certain matches you think you can win.

“No disrespect to Keysy (Lance Key, manager) or Histon – because they would have been thinking the same – but this was one of those games.

Hilton Arthur is congratulated after scoring Soham's second goal against Histon. Picture: Mark Westley
Hilton Arthur is congratulated after scoring Soham's second goal against Histon. Picture: Mark Westley

“It was a good performance and the result is really pleasing. It’s a positive start and there is plenty more to do, but at least it will help to build some confidence.

“It’s important you don’t get too low with the lows and too high with the highs – that’s the way we’ll keep going.”

New signings Morgan Seaman, Jesse Airen and Joe Thomas all featured in the squad against Histon, with recent arrivals Sidik Atcha, Julien Saka and goalscorer Hilton Arthur also included.

Clements is hopeful of adding one or two more fresh faces during the coming days – and believes bolstering the squad gives them the best chance of surviving.

“We needed to freshen it up. As a collective – players, myself and Lloyd – we all let Robbie down and I’m honest enough to say that,” he added.

“But what do you do in this situation? You’ve got to act quickly and we’ve done that.

“These players we’ve got in are not just good players, they also don’t know anything about what’s gone on here over the last four months.

“They’re not lacking confidence and they can come in and play carefree football.

Jon Kaye looks to get Soham on the front foot from midfield. Picture: Mark Westley
Jon Kaye looks to get Soham on the front foot from midfield. Picture: Mark Westley

“The players that are still with us, it might ruffle a few feathers initially but we need that. Hopefully they’ll help each other along and it will bring a fresh dynamic.”

The good feeling generated by last weekend’s derby win is set to be severely tested on Saturday when table-topping Ilkeston Town are the visitors to the Lane (3pm).

The Robins have lost just three times this term and there will not be many expecting Soham to add to that tally.

However, Clements feels it is a scenario that could work in his side’s favour.

“You have to be realistic in our situation,” he said. “We’ve got four or five games against teams around us when we’ll be looking for points.

“Then there is four or five against teams in the middle and if we play well we could nick something from them.

“Then we’ve got games against the likes of Ilkeston and that’s a free hit.

“Anything we get is a bonus, but what we have to do is perform well, be brave and show the people that pay to watch us that we are fighting because we’ve not done that enough this season. We’ll look to be on the front foot and see what happens.”

After hosting Ilkeston, Soham will be at home again on Tuesday when Cambridge United’s Development side visit in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup quarter-finals (7.45pm).