JAMES Cain believes he is two or three players away from turning Stony Stratford Town into a team capable of challenging for the South Midlands League Division One title.
At 26 Cain is the youngest manager in the league, but is masterminding a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the Ostlers Lane outfit who have spent the last few years in the doldrums, and at the foot of the table.
Although Stony lost 2-1 at high-flying Langford on Tuesday night, Cain says they were by far the better team, and is more confident than ever that his dream of taking a side into the SML Premier Division will come true in the next couple of years.
“I think we’re a couple of strikers away from challenging at the top,” he said. “We dominated most of the game but couldn’t take our chances – we hit the crossbar and the post, but it just wouldn’t fall for us. It was the same at Cranfield the other week.
“We’re building a really good team and I’m looking at bringing in a couple of new players. We filmed the game and I watched it back when I got home. We had so many chances and we’re gutted to have lost. Our defence was strong and the midfield was good, we’re just lacking people to put the ball in the net.
“But we’re going in the right direction and I’m determined to get a team into the Premier Division. I’m using this season to build a team with the aim of challenging next year.”
Stony fell two goals behind to third in the table Langford before skipper Michael Mundy scored from the penalty spot with a quarter of an hour to play to give the visitors hope of leaving with a draw. It wasn’t to be though, and the defeat was their fifth in 10 games this term, seeing them sat 13th.
However, Cain’s men had no trouble scoring three days earlier as they beat Division Two side Tring Corinthians 5-3 in the Challenge Trophy first round on Saturday.
The Stony boss said Tring “tried to kick lumps out of them” but they came through that tough test with a win, and Cain now thinks they will go on and beat Sun Postal Sports this Saturday.
Tuesday night’s action also saw New Bradwell St Peter beaten 2-1 at home by Kings Langley in the Division One Cup, having lost 5-3 away at Langford on Saturday – their ninth defeat in 10 league outings, keeping them bottom of the table.
Cranfield United also bowed out of the Division One Cup, beaten 3-0 by Amersham Town on penalties after the game ended 1-1.