Stony Stratford Town have done things the hard way this season, but look set for a very respectable finish in the South Midlands League Division One, writes Liam Andrews.
When manager James Cain took over in the summer, he barely had any players to work with, and there was no stability at the Ostlers Lane club.
But speaking after a 3-1 victory against local rivals Winslow United on Tuesday night, he insisted that the tough times are over and the team are on the up.
“It’s my first season as manager so I would be over the moon with a cup final and a sixth placed finish,” he said.
“We’ve had it hard, because when I started we didn’t have a team. I have played high-level with the local teams myself, so I had to get my players and keep making so many changes.
“It changed so many times, but now we are starting to settle down and crack on, and we’re starting to look like a really good side.
“If we just had a clinical finisher in the team there is no reason why we couldn’t be fighting at the top.”
Instead, Stony are sitting in 12th, having climbed a place after their win over Winslow. But Cain is aiming much higher in the final few weeks of the season, and would also like some silverware to show for their efforts.
He added: “We’re aiming to get around sixth in the table. We still have four games in hand over some teams above us. I’d be happy with sixth to eighth.
“And we are in two cup semi-finals. We’ve got Olney Town on March 28 in the Buckingham Charity semi-final, and probably Chesham in the other.
“You can see from today how well we are doing, in the first 15 minutes we dominated, but then we had the break for the linesman and they took their foot off the gas.
“We let them come on top of us for the rest of the first-half. But in the second half I think we dominated and the scoreline should have been a lot more and I hope we will continue in this form for the rest of the season.”
Whether Stony can win a cup at the end of the season or not remains to be seen, but they have come a long way since the small group of players they had at the beginning of the year first took to the field together.